At the end of this season, Mike Rizzo’s contract as GM with the Nationals expires. He’ll likely be back as both he, and the Lerners have routinely expressed their confidence in his ability. That being said, there is a chance that the Rizzo era is over, and so ranking all of his major deals (3 years+) should give some useful points to look at his tenure as General Manager. With that being said, let’s get started.
Max Scherzer 7 years/210 MM
What. A. Contract. The Nationals signed Max Scherzer after the 2014 season for 210 million, and it was, dare I say a bargain. Max averaged (including the shortened 2020) 29 starts, 185 IP, with a 2.75 ERA, .954 WHIP, 11.8 K/9, and a 5.9 WAR. Max also won back-to-back Cy Young awards and was named to an All-Star-Game every season. The Nationals gambled on Max, and it went as well as it possibly could’ve. Easily his best deal ever, and one of the best in MLB history.
Daniel Murphy 3 years/37.5 MM
In a very Mets-y turn of events, the New York Mets failed to bring back their postseason hero, and the Nationals jumped on the opportunity. Murphy flat out raked as he averaged 20 HRs, 35 2Bs, and put up a .326/.376/.542 triple slash for a .918 OPS! For the low AAV, it was an absolute steal. The only downside is he really fell off his final season, but prior to that he was elite.
Ryan Zimmerman 6 year/100 MM
Not much to say about this one, the Nats held onto their franchise, cornerstone and paid him a fair amount. Zimmerman hit like a star, putting up an OPS north of .800, with an SLG% of .472! He wasn’t elite or anything, but for 16 MM a year, a really nice contract.
Jayson Werth 7 years/126 MM
The Jayson Werth was the deal that brought the Nationals into relevance, and this was Rizzo’s first major deal as team president. Werth ended up being pretty good with the Nats, putting up a 113 WRC+ and averaged 26 HRs a year with the Nationals. He also had some huge moments and was a massive part of the city, and the culture, we all love Jayson Werth. Unfortunately, he was pretty good, and he was paid to be better than that. Compared to what we have coming up soon. Not nearly close to a bad deal.
Will Harris 3 years/24 MM
In 2019, outside of a fantastic at-bat by Howie Kendrick, Harris was fantastic with a 1.50 ERA, and 9.3 K/9 in almost 70 games! The Nationals did not get that workhorse. Harris has only tossed 12 innings over 3 years with the Nationals’, with an ERA over 4.50. Harris has been a disaster, but there are worse money traps.
Patrick Corbin 6 years/140 MM
If you asked me if the deal was a good one after 2019, it would be an enthusiastic yes! Corbin tossed 202 innings with a 3.25 ERA and won game 7 of the World Series. Unfortunately, afterward, he has a 5.74 ERA and has been essentially the worst starting pitcher in the league since 2019. But that “since 2019” is key, without him we wouldn’t have that ring. Whether it’s worth it is up to you.
Stephen Strasburg 7 year/245 MM
RHP Stephen Strasburg hasn’t pitched, at all since the Nationals signed him to the seven-year deal back in 2019. Currently, with only 26.2 IP, and in that time an ERA approaching 6. Giving him a negative WAR. Of course, there is a bright horizon as he is poised to return from Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Strasburg still has 4+ years to make the deal worth it. We shall see, but for now, he hasn’t done anything.