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Riggleman wants expectations raised

Feb 22, 2011, 2:47 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jim Riggleman addressed the full squad before this morning's workout.

VIERA, Fla. — The full squad is in uniform and taking the field at last, but before that happened, Jim Riggleman held a 30-minute meeting with the entire roster and coaching staff, laying the foundation for this camp.

Riggleman had one message in particular he wanted to convey to his revamped club: It's time to take the next step forward.

"There's a tremendous amount of talent in the room here," he said. "With that talent, expectations get raised. So let's meet and exceed those expectations."

That's not the kind of message Riggleman probably felt was appropriate one year ago, when the Nationals were coming off a 59-win season and still had some significant holes around the diamond.

This spring, there's a bit of a different sense in camp. There's more talent across the roster. There's a lot more depth at the major- andRead more »

  1. SCNatsFan - Feb 22, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    I agree; as realistic fans we have to see this team has been horrible the last couple of seasons with players on the MLB roster that shouldn't have been there – this clearly isn't the case anymore. True, we won't compete for the Phillies or Braves for the top spots but this team should be in the mix for third in the division, and if they aren't then I think the manager gets changed before the roster.

  2. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 22, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    Unfortunately, Rigglemans future is tied directly by how well McCatty handles the pitching staff, starters in particular.

  3. Knoxville Nat - Feb 22, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    NatsJack makes a good point regarding McCatty and Riggleman. I know McCatty was brought up from Syracuse when Randy St. Claire was let go but whose decision is it to retain him from year to year? Is that a Rizzo decision or does Riggleman make that call?

  4. The Joker - Feb 22, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Expectations shouldn't be raised all too much. Expect Riggleman to be on vacation by August rather than watching the Nats get stomped by the Phillies, Marlins, Braves and Mets.

  5. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    Here's a question. How long do we go with Riggs if the Nats start 3-15?

  6. N. Cognito - Feb 22, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    Anonymous said… "Here's a question. How long do we go with Riggs if the Nats start 3-15?"I've got $10 saying the Nats start 3-31. Any takers.

  7. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 22, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    N. Cognito…. Make it $100 and your on.

  8. Suicide Squeeze - Feb 22, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    I'll take that bet every day and twice today.

  9. Knoxville Nat - Feb 22, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    I'll take your $10 or your $100 if your willing.Better question, what record do you think the Nats have to have in order for the club to pick up Riggs option for 2012? I'm saying 75 wins will do it.

  10. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    N. Cognito is making an Opening Day pun, hoping to catch people who are not quite dumb enough to bet on Teddy in the Presidents Race. Pay up, Knoxville Nat, NatsJack and Suicide Squeeze. But cheer up, N. Cognito. JayB is still out there, and even after reading this he'll probably go in on your bet.

  11. N. Cognito - Feb 22, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    The Nats will also finish the regular season 9-28.Wink

  12. DFL - Feb 22, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    Mr. Cognito, the Nats have a good chance of winning first pick for the third time in four years. Huzzah!

  13. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    On record pre-pre-season prediction for NATS79 – 83Will upgrade or downgrade day before season if warrantedUNTERP

  14. Steve M. - Feb 22, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    Mark Zuckerman said…That's not the kind of message Riggleman probably felt was appropriate one year ago, when the Nationals were coming off a 59-win season and still had some significant holes around the diamond.The team has to believe in themselves and take responsibility for their own performance. I think around the beginning of May 2010 the expectations should have been high being 5 games over .500 even after Zim had his hamstring problems and Marquis was headed to the DL with the elbow problems.The problem was the pitching was then exposed and Pudge fell into a slump and the clutch hitting disappeared and they fell apart.This year they are coming off of a 69-win season and have spent a lot of money to to help the team balance and the question becomes pitching so expectations are one thing but reality is another unless someone from within jumps out of their previous self and becomes the surprise Zach Greinke or Cliff Lee. This team has to be a 73 win team at the very least and realistically I can't see more than 85 wins at the most given any scenario.So what does it really mean that Riggleman wants expectations raised. It should be each player meeting or exceeding set expectations and doing their job. Ian Desmond for instance has to show defensive improvement with no more than __ amount of errors. Nyjer Morgan should maintain a steal % of at least ___% and so on.Make the targets objective and write them down player by player. Jim, try something new, it may work as accountability is how all great businesses are successful.

  15. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    How many of you would like to read a blog where people publicly speculate on how long you will keep your jobs? I'm guessing none of you will sign up for that. Let's talk about the team in ST. We can evaluate the manager's performance during the season when there is a record to evaluate. That's just me thinking out loud.fpcsteve

  16. N. Cognito - Feb 22, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    DFL said… "Mr. Cognito, the Nats have a good chance of winning first pick for the third time in four years. Huzzah!"I don't believe so, but don't let my opinion dampen your hopes.

  17. Noirelune - Feb 22, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    And what will happen if the Nats start with 15-3?With the talents they have in their lineup, and because Lannan and Marquis will be far better than last year, and because JZ will be there at the beginning of the season and because they improved their 4th and 5th starting pitchers spots, they are already far better than last year.Be positive. Smile. Baseball is funMeanwhile, les Marlins and the Mets dit not improve. So, we'll battle for the third place.

  18. MIcheleS - Feb 22, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    My hope is for 79 wins, realistically, I think we can expect 73 wins. There are two many "What Ifs" to get all crazy on the expectations.. Let's set semi-low expectations and be suprised when/if they exceed them!

  19. Les in NC - Feb 22, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    I got upset that N. Cog would go so far as to say our team wasn't any better than starting 3-31!! So upset, I had to print out the years schedule and predict how (I thought)our first month of games might go!Thanks to the Anon tipper, I would have lost my money too! Anyways, my prediction for the first month (regardless if we start 3-31 or not) is somewhere around 12-14.

  20. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 22, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    This team has to turn its fortunes on the Florida Marlins. I think you lose a few more to the Phillies and need to pick up a bunch on the Marlins and then beat the teams you should beat.The best PR for this team is winning. They can increase the fanbase by destroying the Orioles this year as that O's fanbase is ready to crumble like they were when the Colts skipped town!

  21. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    How many of you would like to read a blog where people publicly speculate on how long you will keep your jobs? Hmmm, so what about Morgan? He has plenty of guys who are now vying for his job? Doesn't he? People are ready to throw Yunesky Maya under the bus and boy how about Wang?Look fpcsteve, who got promoted to Syracuse in the offseason? Randy Knorr. He will likely finish up Norris' education in the minors. I am wondering if he might be "promoted" again should Riggleman falter as he historically has in the past? More than anyone else Riggleman needs to meet or exceed expectations. Period.

  22. John C. - Feb 22, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    I'm also in for N. Cognito's bet – I say let's have Mark Z hold the stakes. Heck, I'll even give N.Cog some leeway – if the Nats go worse than 3-31, I'll declare him the winner even though he would be off. How about it, Mark – when the Nats get their 4th win of the season or their 31st loss, whichever comes first, you make the payout accordingly. We'll call it the N.Cognito sweepstakes! But let's just say I need to see the color of his/her money before I go all in.John C.

  23. N. Cognito - Feb 22, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    One born every minute.:^)

  24. NatsNut - Feb 22, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    No offense Mark, but I highly doubt Riggleman's contract status is such a big factor in a manager's speech on the first day of spring training. Yea, he needs to win, but so does every manager.Sheesh. There's already a death watch on the guy and it's THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING TRAINING. C'mon, let's don't beat THAT point to a bloody pulp too.

  25. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    I'm just saying that it sounds like some posters are holding Riggleman to a higher standard than they have for themselves. When is the last time you (or anyone you know) said, "I need to be fired if I don't pick it up soon"? Be good or be gone? What number is "good"? What number is "be gone?" I'm just saying that evaluating Riggleman's record makes more sense when he has actually managed some games this season. At this point the roster isn't even set.fpcsteve

  26. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    "I need to be fired if I don't pick it up soon"? Be good or be gone? What number is "good"? What number is "be gone?" In today's world? fpcSteve it happens every single friggin' day and it would be height of naivete to think otherwise. Except most do not make Jim Riggleman's salary now do they? Heck yes, the first day of Spring Training is a good time to discuss it NatsNut? Else why would every beat reporter (including gad-about-gaddis Ladson) ask Rizzo about it the first day of Spring Training? Huh?So, what is it you are saying about them now NatsNut?

  27. Honus Wagner III - Feb 22, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    I see a rough start for the Nats in March and April. The Braves will take two of three at Nats Park to open. The Marlins and Mets will take two of three during the first Nats road trip. The Phils and Brewers will win two of three at Nats Park. The Cards will sweep three in St. Louis. In Pittsburgh, the Pirates will win two of three. The Nats will return home to win their first series against the Mets, winning two of three. The Giants will win the last two games of April in Washington. That's a 8-18 start folks.

  28. John C. - Feb 22, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    To all the preseason prognosticators (positive and negative in their view of the Nationals in 2011): HAHHAHHAHHAHHAHHAHHAH. Seriously. What a waste of time and effort. Every year there will be teams with great expectations that struggle out of the gate, and teams with no expectations (like the Nationals) that do surprisingly well in the early going – most of which eventually come back down to Earth. None of us (myself included) knows what is going to happen. That, after all, is why they play the games. MLB teams have had maybe one full squad workout, no one has even played a college exhibition game yet, and we're being told exactly what will transpire over the first month (or even two). Even Biff Tannen's encyclopedia ran out in 1985. And anyone else telling you what will happen in the future is just an internet monkey throwing their stuff at the wall.

  29. sparky - Feb 22, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    Honus, I'd like to go to the April game against Philly that we win. Which one of the three will it be? Thanks in advance.

  30. Souldrummer - Feb 22, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    If Riggleman can get the Nats to start 4-1 I believe Rizzo will realize his amazing powers and his job will be safe.

  31. Souldrummer - Feb 22, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    @N. CognitoThere's two old guys from an old beer commercial toasting you. Swiped.

  32. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 22, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    I bet you could have said they'd start 3-31-11, and still gotten takers.

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