As we anticipate the official start of the 2020 Major League Baseball season, Mike Rizzo and Davey Martinez await new contracts. Two of the biggest reasons for the Nationals' World Series run in 2019 are entering the final year of their current deals and have yet to finalize their status beyond this season.
So the Washington Post's Jesse Dougherty and former Nats beat writer Jamal Collier joined Todd Dybas on the Nationals Talk podcast to try and figure out why.
While Dougherty admitted these contracts should have, "locked up a while ago," he brings up the coronavirus pandemic and MLB's suspended season as a cause for the lack of ongoing talks.
"I think now I can sort of make a devil's advocate argument on the organization's side to not do it now because there's so many people organizationally, top-to-bottom, who are in financial limbo and not sure what their jobs are going to be like come June or July," Dougherty said. "It may look weird to make Mike Rizzo the second-highest-paid GM in baseball behind Theo Epstein potentially, while there are dozens and dozens of people who are still wondering if they're going to get regular pay come next month."
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The Nationals have assured full-time employees they would get full pay through May 31, but there are no new developments yet for what will happen in June and beyond.
"It is weird the way [the Nationals] have traditionally continued to treat general managers and managers," Collier said. "It sort of makes you think, 'What else do they have to do?'
"I think it's a very weird time for all teams to figure out exactly how to maneuver transactions," he said. "I guess I can see the other side of it, but in general these are people you are confident in going forward and want to keep around long-term in your organization, so it's something I think you could've, should've been working out and try to get done here."
Martinez and Rizzo have reiterated time and time again how they're more worried about the Nationals' upcoming title defense than their pending contract situations. As two individuals who built and led a team from a 19-31 start to a magical run in the postseason, they'd be justified to feel good about the future.
Still, until this contract situation is resolved it'll remain a major storyline hanging over the future of the franchise.
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