Monday, September 20, 2010

Three paragraphs on Jim Riggleman

It would seem that the Nationals intend to bring back Jim Riggleman for another year of exciting Washington Nationals Baseball. At 34 games under the .500 mark over the past season-and-a-half, Riggleman has had a moderate amount of success in the Nats' managerial seat, at least relatively speaking -- Manny Acta's group was 35 games under .500 when he was canned half-way through last season. If you're roughly as far below .500 in 1 1/2 seasons as Acta was in a half-season, then you're doing pretty okay, once you input the Acta normalization factor.

Riggleman has his positives and his negatives. On the one hand, the Riggler has "brought accountability back into the clubhouse" for the first time since the somewhat gruff days of Frank Robinson. On the other hand, it appears impossible to demonstrate from an absence of evidence that Riggleman handled Steven Strasburg absolutely perfectly. Balancing the equities here, I think most agree that John McGraw would be a better choice, but that would require a time machine.

My thought on Riggleman is this. Late last week, Bruce Chen racked up his 10th victory of the season. That leads the Royals, which means Chen has more wins on the season than Zack Greinke, which means pretty much nothing. Still, it does give Chen a second season of double-digit victories, five years after his first. Chen's seasonal won/lost records since his debut in 1998: 2-0, 2-2, 7-4, 7-7, 2-5, 0-1, 2-1, 13-10, 0-7, 0-0, didn't pitch in MLB, 1-6, 10-7. Chen now has 46 career wins, exactly half in the aforementioned pair of double-digit-victory seasons. What this means is that Chen is always available, is sometimes the choice of a team with a dire need and nothing better available, and is vaguely capable of competency when he does get the chance. That's why Chen's been around 12 seasons, and that's why the Royals brought him back this year despite the fact that he went 1-6 for them last year. And Jim Riggleman is essentially the manager's version of Bruce Chen.


  • You have to have a better alternative on hand if you want to replace the manager right? Otherwise you're just introducing a new staff and a new philosophy to a team unnecessarily.

    I have no problem with Riggleman continuing. Unless you show me some evidence that he's specifically failing as a manager, or some stat that shows why HE is the reason the team is 25 games under .500, then I can't argue for his release.

    Riggleman not the starting pitcher that gives up 6 runs in the first inning, or the team that can't score more than 2-3 runs against mediocre offense, or the bone headed defenders who lead the league in errors. THOSE are the reasons we are in last place.

    If anything, Riggleman has shown an ability to snap this team out of temporary malaise and get performance out of them. THAT is the hallmark of a good manager given the financial resources (or lack there of) on this team.

    It makes no sense to bring in someone like Tony LaRussa or Joe Torre. They're not going to improve this lot. LaRussa has perhaps the best pitching rotation in the majors along with the best player in the game but they're not going to make the playoffs. Should LaRussa be fired too?

    By Blogger Todd Boss, at 9/20/2010 3:25 PM  

  • The only reason Riggleman was hired and will probably be retained is that he works for peanuts. Same went for Manny Acta and the same goes for any manager the Nats will ever hire as long as the "frugal" Lerners own the team.

    By Anonymous phil dunn, at 9/20/2010 10:08 PM  

  • Why not do something different? OK, Torre wants to be semi-retired...why not bring him in to "coach the coach"...we have coaches upon coaches for the players..why not one for the manager?

    By Anonymous bringbackdibble, at 9/21/2010 6:10 AM  

  • Other than Torre not being semi-retired, almost certainly not wanting to waste his time with a loser, and instead seemingly wanting to manage the Mets, that's a great idea!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/21/2010 8:24 AM  

  • The fans are clamoring for a final StanSpeak translation Chris. Give the public what they want.

    By Anonymous NatsVA, at 9/23/2010 10:46 PM  

  • In response to "bring back Dibble", most major league teams already have a coaches coach. On the Nats, his name is John McLarem. He's called the bench coach. Riggles used to be McLaren's bench coach when McL managed Seattle. Riggs was Manny's bench coach before Manny was sent to exile on main street. Be careful who you pick for such an insiders job.

    By Anonymous danagunn, at 9/24/2010 6:11 AM  

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