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Riggleman officially returning

Oct 26, 2010, 9:37 PM EST

The Nationals announced this afternoon that Jim Riggleman will return as manager next season, a revelation that won’t take anyone by surprise since Riggleman was already under contract for 2011 and there had been no previous indication he wouldn’t be retained.

Riggleman, who took over as interim manager during the 2009 All-Star break when Manny Acta was fired, was named permanent manager last fall. He was given a two-year contract, though the deal included a clause that would have allowed the Nationals to buy out the second year for only $100,000. Essentially, today’s announcement is that the club is not enacting the out clause and thus firing the 57-year-old, a move that if made would have taken place right after the season.

The Nationals also hold an option to retain Riggleman for the 2012 season, though that option has not yet been picked up.

Riggleman’s entire coaching staff will return in 2011, including third base coach Pat Listach, who interviewed last week for the Brewers’ vacant managerial job but was informed he won’t be their choice.

  1. BinM - Oct 26, 2010 at 10:02 PM

    I think this move was assumed as a given; More of a clarification than anything ele from Rizzo & the FO. I find myself neither excited nor angered by this piece of news, but sure that there will be more than a few posts 'flaming' this decision. Here's hoping that Rizzo can land some additional offensive & pitching help in the off-season. Fire up the Hot Stove – I'm more than ready.

  2. Anonymous - Oct 26, 2010 at 10:23 PM

    [censored]

  3. natsfan1a - Oct 26, 2010 at 10:28 PM

    Funny, I initially read the headline as "Riggleman officially retiring." Mr. Freud to the white courtesy phone, please. My subconscious aside, I'm of a similar mind set to that of BinM. In a word: meh.

  4. N. Cognito - Oct 26, 2010 at 10:30 PM

    He's really no worse or better than the average MLB manager.I didn't have a problem with him occasionally starting Kennedy or one of the other multitude of players that sucked this year, but he NEVER put the best lineup on the field…until Morgan served his suspension.

  5. JayB - Oct 26, 2010 at 10:32 PM

    Not good news….expected but still not a move that will improve a club wit 298 loses over that past 3 years and the worst defensive team 3 years running…..and they still can not bunt!

  6. Donald - Oct 26, 2010 at 10:46 PM

    @N. Cognito — saying that he's average isn't borne out by statistics. He's got an overwhelmingly worse record than any manager with his tenure. It's possible to explain some of that away by the teams he's had to coach, but at some point, it starts to sound like excuses. If the Nats win it isn't going to be because of Riggleman. If they lose, it might not be entirely his fault either, but really, the most we can hope for with him is that he doesn't get in the teams way.

  7. JayB - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:01 PM

    calling Riggs as average shows that grade inflation has reached all area's of society. In looking at transcripts for college admissions I can tell you the bottom 10% of a graduating class is "average" 2.0 GPA….Riggs is indeed Average on that scale.

  8. still on the sofa - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:01 PM

    I asked a long-time Cubs beat writer, who's opinion I respect, earlier this year about Riggleman–he likes him, both personally and as a baseball guy. "Get him some talent," he said. And it's true, nobody could have won with the teams he's had here. But at some point, I think it's got to be more than coincidence that he keeps being associated with crappy teams.

  9. Sec3MySofa - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:04 PM

    And graduated tho they may be, they still can't use apostrophes correctly.Then again, you know what they call the person who graduates last in their class in medical school.

  10. Anonymous - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:06 PM

    Seeing a functional illiterate like JayB complaining about grade inflation is absolutely hilarious.

  11. JayB - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:13 PM

    In my job I am graded on something more that typing…..yes lucky for me but it does show that there are lots of things people can be good at and they are paid for the value they bring….Riggs does not bring much value at all and he is not paid well at all…..lowest in baseball….just like Acta before him.

  12. Doc - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:20 PM

    Riggleman's comments and actions concerning Morgan, in the past season, many times patronized the sensibilities of lots of Nats' fans. I think that Jim Riggleman is probably a good man who manages too much like a manager in the high minors. It will be interesting to compare Showalter and his Orioles to Uncle Jimmy and his Nats over the next few years.

  13. raymitten - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:38 PM

    I'm glad Riggs is back. I didn't always agree with his moves, but he's a good man, the players were pretty much giving max effort and the team needs some continuity. I also think Bruce Bochy manages very similarly to Riggs with the double switches, the early exits of Pat Burrell, etc., and his team seems to be doing just fine. Anyone who's previously opined that its a good idea to move the spring training site to Arizona has all opinions filed under 'contrary for contrary's sake' in my book.

  14. Jerry Seinfeld - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:41 PM

    Riggleman's coming back? That's a shame.

  15. BinM - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:46 PM

    @Doc: History tends to repeat itself. If history has shown us anything, it's that Showalter will sufficiently torque upper management to the point for him to keep drawing paychecks while someone else puts the team into the playoffs. It happened with the Yankees, the Diamondbacks, and now with the Rangers. I wish the next manager of the Orioles the same run.

  16. JayB - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:56 PM

    Have you been to AZ for Spring Training or Fall Ball? I find it vastly better for the fan. More games in smaller area by far…..No rain outs or cold days….I don't care that much but if they move that is fine by me and better for the players for sure.

  17. N. Cognito - Oct 27, 2010 at 12:20 AM

    You guys are being too literal with my my use of the word "average."Average is a fairly broad band.He's not exceptional, one way or the other.

  18. N. Cognito - Oct 27, 2010 at 12:23 AM

    …and the first person to suggest Davey Johnson should be the manager should get banned from posting. ;^)He has said repeatedly that he has no interest in managing.

  19. Knoxville Nat - Oct 27, 2010 at 12:36 AM

    I still recall the very favorable comments of Mark Grace and Shawon Dunston re Riggleman, in that they were very favorable of him and his abilities as a manager. It has been interesting to watch the NL playoffs and obseve the double switches that are made by the managers in these series. I wonder if their fan boards moan and whine as much as Nats fans over double switches?

  20. Jimmy - Oct 27, 2010 at 12:43 AM

    Well, with double switch back and his cuddling of Morgan I know I won't be wasting my time watching or following the Nats next season or going to any games. You can give him the All-Star team and he would find a way of missing them up! Hurry up 2014, so Ryan Zimmerman can sign with a good organization. I wish Strasburg and Harper the best also, they are here for loan. Who would want to be with a team that makes decisions like this one (bringing Riggleman back). As I've said before he's our answer to Norv Turner!I just lost respect for Mike Rizzo also, if this is his first major decision!Lord, what did we ever do to get this kind of treatment concerning baseball in Washington?

  21. Feel Wood - Oct 27, 2010 at 1:59 AM

    Double switches are an accepted part of National League baseball. Double switches in which you remove a player who already has two home runs and 4 of your team's 5 RBI in the bottom of the sixth inning of a tie game are an accepted part of Bizarro World baseball. Unfortunately the Nationals don't play in the Bizarro National League, which is where Riggleman ought to be managing. What does it say that the manager of the team that won that game is the one who ended up getting fired?

  22. Anonymous - Oct 27, 2010 at 3:00 AM

    When you hire a lifetime .444 CHEAP RETREAD …you get what you pay for…a LAST place finish..and there will be another LAST place finish in 2011…. A lowly .426 finish this past year.Oversaw a Keystone Kops team in the field that finished tied with WOEFUL Quitsburgh with the MOST ERRORS in MLB… Standing on those dugout steps….Riggleman is truly the NOTZ posterboy for HOPELESSNESS……

  23. Steve - Oct 27, 2010 at 9:21 AM

    Feel Wood nails it. I really, really wish this move was only for Bizarro World, because that's the only place Jim Riggleman should be managing in the majors.

  24. b - Oct 27, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    The Grim Reaper returns. More post game sullenness, darkness. He should work in a funeral parlor, greeting the guests, informing them what room Uncle Charlie is in. But "He's a players manager."

  25. natsfan1a - Oct 27, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    Only when they're losing, I suspect.—I wonder if their fan boards moan and whine as much as Nats fans over double switches?

  26. Matt - Oct 27, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    @Sec3MySofa ("Then again, you know what they call the person who graduates last in their class in medical school."):OB/Gyn?

  27. A DC Wonk - Oct 27, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    Switching subjects: is today the next game for Harper? Do I remember right that in 8AB he has three hits, a double, and only one K?

  28. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 27, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    Color me another "meh" individual on the Riggleman announcement.I like Jimmy on a personal level and actually believe that he is a solid baseball "lifer" but I'm not sure he is a guy who can bring the absolute most out of a player.This will be a year that nothing less than .500 will be acceptable with no excuses allowed.And DC Wonk, to answer your questions, yes to all.

  29. Anonymous - Oct 27, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    I hope Rizzo and the Lerners at least called Ryne Sandbwerg to see if he was interested before officially re-signing Riggleman. Ryno is disgruntled with the Cubs and a good minor league manager, he would have been a great grab.

  30. Anonymous - Oct 27, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Congratulations to anyone who can get or keep a job these days. It has come to that.

  31. dale - Oct 27, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    When you have a club that the people above Riggleman's pay grade know is destined to lose 90 games you try to put in a manager that will use all of his skills to hold the boat together in the storm. Riggleman did this. The players in the clubhouse remained solid and unified, something you could not say about Acta's leadership. So what else is Riggleman guilty of besides the occasional overmanaging? When you are given a team that has a bench strength of .200 hitters and a starting pitching staff that filled the doctor's offices you really have to keep juggling the whole time. Add into the mix that your "starters" have a definite defensive liabilities then you are going to be double switching a lot during the course of the season.All in all, the Nats still improved by ten games over the course of the season. Riggleman fulfilled his part of the bargain, not a hard decision for Rizzo to make.

  32. Anonymous - Oct 27, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    Seems to me this follows the arc of lots of managerial decisions – Riggs isn't the long term answer and whoever that is for Rizzo, he's not available right now so you let him manage one more year and deal with whatever salary issues you have to after that (Riggs is cheap by manager's standards). My biggest complaint is with the playing of Morgan – will be very interesting to see how the outfield plays out come this Spring.

  33. Arlington Big Fish - Oct 27, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    To change the subject somewhat, the Post this AM also had a little piece on the re-design of the Nats' home uniforms. They're apparently getting rid of the block lettering NATIONALS & going to script. I always liked the blocks, because they sort of connoted the column-heavy architecture in DC. And they were distinctive. Script is not distinctive.

  34. Anonymous - Oct 27, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    Meh. One thing I've learned over the years is that a ML manager is always an incompetent jackass, and that any fan could do a better job. If what a manager does works, he's lucky. If it bombs, the fan knew it all along. I also follow the Yankees, and there is a loud minority of Yankee fans who crucify Joe Girardi even when he wins. So it goes.Look, JR is not a good manager, but IMHO he's not a bad one. The team has very limited talent and there's not much he could do about that. It's interesting to compare JR with Joe Torre; up until JT signed with the Yankees he WAS JR – one playoff appearance, well below .500 career managing record. I'm not saying JR = JT, but it's amazing what a little talent can do for a manager.I'm OK with JR getting one more season to sink or swim without a safety net. I'm much more concerned with how the front office puts together the team for 2011 and beyond.John C.

  35. Feel Wood - Oct 27, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    "I always liked the blocks, because they sort of connoted the column-heavy architecture in DC. And they were distinctive."Yes, I never once mistakenly walked into a Fuddruckers when I meant to go to a Nationals game. I think the distinctive logo is what saved me.

  36. Anonymous - Oct 27, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    @ Arlington Big FishCould not agree with you more, Script looks crappy on uniforms, why not go back to the blue block letters on a grey uniform for road games and whiteunifomrs with blue block letters for home games. This of course means getting rid of the replusive Curly W which only signifies losers in DC. This is how we won a World Series in 1924..LISTEN UP NATS MANAGEMENT!

  37. N. Cognito - Oct 27, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    Feel Wood said… "Sure looks like someone may be pissed that Riggleman is keeping his job, doesn't it?"No.

  38. Knoxville Nat - Oct 27, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    "This will be a year that nothing less than .500 will be acceptable with no excuses allowed."First question in response to this….do you know who takes Strasberg's place in the rotation?Second question…Who is is your first baseman and clean up hitter for 2011?Third question……Who is your CF, RF, second baseman, lead off hitter in 2011?Fourth question….will we use 5-6 starting pitchers next year or 14 or so like like we did in 2010?My point is that before you go setting expectations of the manager don't you think you need to know what he has to work with and play everyday? Now if you said that .500 was to be expected without excuses and place that on Rizzo and the front office first I would tend to agree with you, but the manager can only work with the players an organization gives him and it is incumbent on the FO to give Riggs the best players they can find and bring into the organization.

  39. JayB - Oct 27, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    Foli was fired in my view….I recall a day last March when I was watching camp before a spring training games started. 4 fields going at once and the inter squad game I was watching had a terrible cut off play that allowed a runner to score and the batter take an extra base. Instantly I heard Bob Boone yell for Foli to come over…they stopped the game and Foli was told to go fix what was wrong with the play. Two innings later I heard another call for Foli….later I heard Boone say to him….this is why you have a job….you need to fix this stuff and teach them the right way of doing this….(run down was the second time)…..Well Nats led baseball in errors yet again (3 year in a row)…..and little got fixed. Foli may not be to blame but someone has to take the fall.

  40. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 27, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    Knoxville Nat… You make excellent points however Rizzo has a 5 year contract and Riggleman just got one club option renewed with another one in waiting. I think he has to produce a .500 club or he's gone.

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