Tag Archives: Jim Riggleman

D.C. is a coaches graveyard

Washington most volatile city for pro coachesUSA Today
In news that isn’t exactly shocking to Washingtonians, the teams that call the Nation’s Capital home (Washington Nationals, Washington Capitals, Washington Redskins and Washington Wizards) go through coaches quicker than any other city. MLS and the WNBA were not included in the analysis, though I don’t think including D.C. United or the Washington Mystics would change the conclusion. Details:

In its study, USA TODAY analyzed manager/head coach turnover rates by sport, franchise and market, using each team’s five most recent full-time bosses. Interim appointments weren’t included, unless the person subsequently was given the job for the next season. MLB and NFL teams were charted through the conclusion of the 2011 season; NHL and NBA coaches through the halfway point of the 2011-12 campaign.


Jim Riggleman
, who abruptly quit the Nats in the middle of a 10 wins in 11 games stretch
, is quoted:

In three of the four jobs, he took over during the season as an interim manager. The Padres kept him for two years, the Mariners made a change when a new general manager was hired in the offseason and he was with the Nationals for a total of about two years (with one-year contracts for a reported $600,000 annually).

“As an interim manager, if you then manage on a one-year contract, for all intents and purposes you’re still an interim manager,” Riggleman said. “There’s a little more of a feeling that nobody’s ever been too sure whether you should be here or not.”

Riggleman stresses he isn’t blaming management for his departure from the Nationals. “I did what I thought was the right thing. I never said it was the smart thing,” he said.


Susan O’Malley
is quoted, but after her tenure with the Bullets/Wizards, she doesn’t deserve to be heard. If you don’t remember, she pioneered marketing the visiting teams rather than the home team, especially with the Bullets.

Dale Hunter of the Caps and Randy Wittman will both be out as head coaches of their respective teams following the conclusion of their seasons in April or May. Book it. Mike Shanahan has at least one more season with he Redskins while Davey Johnson is a wild card with the Nats. Johnson is already the second-longest tenured head man in D.C. and he started last June. I don’t know how long he will be around, since he keeps saying “if we don’t make the playoffs, they can fire me.”

I’d be curious to see how D.C. shakes out with general manager tenure — they seem to stick around a lot longer (perhaps too long).

h/t @dcsportsbog (his take: Washington is actually America’s coaching graveyard, study confirms)

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My 2011 Washington Nationals preview and prediction

I have gone back and forth on the Washington Nationals this offseason. They improved 10 games in 2010, despite a disappointing starting rotation. This season, the best part of 2010′s rotation, Stephen Strasburg, is recovering from Tommy John surgery. However, I expect the rotation to improve even without Strasburg. I expect a bounce-back season from Jason Marquis, who struggled due to bone chips in his elbow last season, as well as John Lannan, who came on strong late after a mid-season demotion. Jordan Zimmermann appears healed from his Tommy John surgery and has the potential to be a top 2 starter. I expect some regression from ¡LIVAN! but he should eat a lot of innings/cheeseburgers, especially earlier in the season. I have no idea what to expect from Tom Gorzelanny. I anticipate Yunesky Maya and Ross Detwiler will get some starts as well. Overall, I think the rotation is better.

The bullpen, a strength of last year’s team, probably regresses this year. Matt Capps was strong as the closer, but got traded. Sean Burnett and rookie Drew Storen was solid, though Storen has been rocked this spring. Tyler Clippard pitched an awful lot last year, so I have my concerns about him. Hopefully, the starters can go into the games longer and give the overused bullpen a rest.

For the 7th consecutive season, the Nats are going to open without a proven leadoff hitter. Nyjer Morgan looked like the answer after 2 good months in 2009, but couldn’t keep up production/sanity and was dealt. Ian Desmond is the ad hoc leadoff hitter and newly acquired Jayson Werth is out of place batting 2nd, while Ryan Zimmerman is third up. Adam LaRoche, currently playing with a shoulder problem, is hitting clean-up, but I don’t think he can hold up. Michael Morse enters his first full season and will bat 6th after a strong spring. Danny Espinosa showed power in his September call up, but finished with a .214 average. Small sample size and all, he should be better, but how much better? Ivan Rodriguez/Wilson Ramos will bat 8th with the latter hopefully getting the bulk of the catching duties sooner than later.

Defensively, I expect the infield to be improved. Zimmerman is the best third baseman in baseball. Desmond has to cut down on errors and I think he will, but still be a liability. Espinosa, a converted shortstop, should establish himself as the best second baseman the Nats have had and LaRoche is expected to help all of them out with better defense than departed Adam Dunn at first. If/when LaRoche’s shoulder keeps him out of the lineup, the Nats are probably in trouble. Jayson Werth should provide strog defense in right and occasionally center while retread Rick Ankiel will get the bulk of playing time in center. Morse will see most of the time in left and will have plenty of room to improve.

As much as I want to rationalize a big jump for the Nats, I just can’t do it. I think they win more games than last season, but not many more. The Phillies should dominate the Nats with the best rotation since the 1990s Braves. The Braves will challenge them though and then there is a dropoff. The Nats can’t beat the Marlins. The Mets are in turmoil and probably finish last, meaning 4th or better for D.C. I want to believe, but ultimately, I think we’re looking at a 73-89 record.

PREVIOUS PREDICTIONS

2006 prediction: 75-87 Result: 71-91

2007 prediction: 62-99 Result: 73–89 that season

2008 prediction: 76-86. Result: 59-102.

2009 prediction: 74-88 Result: 59-103.

2010 prediction: 70-92 Result: 69-93

I did not post one in 2005 for some reason.

My AL team, the New York Yankees, will go 162-0.

OTHER PREDICTIONS

Walk-off home runs by Ryan Zimmerman: 1
Jim Riggleman’s extension is picked up: yes
Stephen Strasburg pitches in majors: no
Ian Desmond errors: 22
Jason Marquis traded: yes
Wins leader: TIE John Lannan/Jordan Zimmerman (11)
All-Star(s): Zimmerman, Werth
Cheesesteak/Half-Smoke Challenge: Phillies 12 Nats 6
MASN being anti-DC: duh
Terrible Nationals Park concession staff: Expect It

PREVIEWS

2011 Baseball PreviewThe Post
The Nationals 2011The Wash. Times

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Nats vs. Cardinals: Beanballs make spring training game interesting

Spring training live blog, Nationals at Cardinals – Nationals Journal, The Post
The Nyjer Morgan hangover continues for the Washington Nationals. Last season, Morgan ran into St. Louis Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson instead of you know, touching home plate. The Cards never got a chance to retaliate since Morgan was sat the next day by manager Jim Riggleman. Yesterday, they did, hitting Laynce Nix. Nats starter Liván Hernández plunked Colby Rasmus deliberately in the 5th inning. That seemed to have settled it, but in the 7th, Miguel Batista, a DC folk hero from last season after his spot start for an ailing Strasburg and Miss Iowa remark, hit Ian Desmond. Both benches emptied and Riggleman went off on his opposite number and friend, Tony La Russa. No punches were thrown, probably because Morgan was restrained.

Oh and Desmond noted that Batista “throws like Miss Iowa.”

Baseball is fun.

The Nats won for the first time in a week too.

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Nats: Extend Riggleman? Why?

JASON REID: Nationals should show Jim Riggleman that he’s part of their futureThe Post
Reid, the newest Post columnist, argues that the Washington Nationals need to exercise the option on Jim Riggleman‘s contract. He sites his experience covering the Los Angeles Dodgers and the stability that having a contract beyond the end of the season gives a manager. Managers are more willing to make unpopular short-term decisions when they have an expectation they come back. I see his point, but I want to see what the Nats do in the first part of the season. Let’s see how the Nats are doing at Memorial Day — if they are playing better fundamental baseball and being competitive, go ahead and extend Riggleman. If they are playing sloppy, don’t extend him then and continue the evaluation.

I would be thrilled if Riggleman, a Montgomery County, Md. native, succeeded here, but it has to be based on the standings more than sentiment or his affordable contract. Riggleman tends to overmanage — double switches are not required, Jim.

Lastly, I think it is kind of funny that Reid cites the Dodgers as an example of managerial security. The Dodgers went over 40 years without offering a manager a multi-year contract. An important plot point in Roger Kahn’s Boys of Summer was that Charlie Dressen lost his job after winning 2 consecutive pennants in Brooklyn because he wanted a multi-year deal. Walt Alston and Tommy Lasorda each had a series of 1-year deals too. It was not until the end of Lasorda’s career that he got a mult-year deal and I don’t think he was able to finish it in the mid-1990s. That had changed by the time Reid hit the Dodgers beat, but it was worth mentioning.

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Jim Riggleman officially returning as Nats manager

I think we all thought that Jim Riggleman‘s return to the Washington Nationals dugout was already official, but apparently it was not until yesterday. A press release came out at 5:23 p.m. yesterday confirming the Rockville, Md. native would manage the Nats again.

Riggleman’s buyout for 2011 was a mere $100,000. He made $600,000 last season and was perhaps the least paid MLB manager in 2010. In his first full season, the Nats improved by 10 games in the standings, but they probably should have improved more.

Riggleman’s return likely means another season of nightly double-switches and earnest press conferences where he speaks a lot but doesn’t actually say anything. I am curious to see if he can get more out of the players this year and put together lineups that reflect the reality of a player’s performance and not his prescribed role.

It’s official: Riggleman will returnThe Post
Riggleman officially returningNats Insider
Nationals News: Riggleman to return, and new uniforms to be unveiledTBD

In case you did not see it yesterday, my take on the upcoming Nats uniforms change.

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Nats: I don’t think Ryan Zimmerman is a big Jim Riggleman fan

Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman spoke out to nationals.com during yesterday’s final day off of the season. The face of the franchise wants veterans to take more control of the clubhouse so that the manager can prepare for unnecessary double-switches manage. Zimmerman also doesn’t want players scolded publicly i.e. Jim Riggleman calling out Nyjer Morgan and talking about details of a closed-door meeting. In the words of Nationals Enquirer “Ryan Zimmerman calls out his manager for calling people out?

This is the boldest thing Zimmerman has ever done and my inclination is to think he’s taking the lead and not being a prima donna. Given Zimmerman’s stature with the franchise, his probably is not alone in feeling the way he does. I have a feeling Riggleman just got a little indigestion.

Zimmerman also wants Adam Dunn signed too, but don’t we all?

When it comes down to it, you have to respect a man with a kazoo (DC Sports Bog, The Post), don’t you?

Or a track suit (with Bruce Boudreau)

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Nyjer Morgan charges mound in Nats 16-10 loss to Marlins

Nyjer Morgan charges mound, benches clear as Washington Nationals fall to Florida, 16-10The Post
Nyjer Morgan charges the mound – DC Sports Bog, The Post
A sad and predictable turn of events – Nats Insider
CF Nyjer Morgan continues to be the story when it comes to the Washington Nationals. After taking out Florida Marlins catcher Brett Hayes the previous night, Morgan had to face the music in the 4th inning. After being plunked, he took first base and then proceeded to steal second and third. The Nats were down 14-3 at the time. I agree with manager Jim Riggleman who said “the Florida Marlins will not decide when we run. We will decide when we run. Nobody will decide when we run.” However, taunting the crowd after scoring was another poor decision by Morgan given his recent run-ins with fans (Nationals Journal) and pending 7 game suspension for throwing a ball into the crowd in Philadelphia.

The Marlins took exception to the running and taunting, so in the sixth when Morgan came up again, Chris Volstad threw behind Morgan. Morgan looked over to the Nats dugout and then charged the mound.

Recently fired Rob Dibble must be heartbroken he was not doing the game.

Morgan isn’t much of a fighter when his opposition is 6-8. Both dugouts emptied and when it was over, Morgan beat his chest and raised his arms as he walked off the field as public enemy #1. He was ejected. In the following inning Doug Slaten threw at Gaby Sanchez, earning an ejection. Riggleman also got tossed.

The Nats have a real problem with Morgan. the centerfielder’s instability is hurting himself and his team. Morgan really needs to sit, perhaps for the rest of the season, and is certainly going to be suspended for his actions last night. While there is a question about how bad the Philadelphia incident was he probably won’t get a reduction in the suspension now. I don’t have a problem with that necessarily because Morgan is too volatile right now. Also, Riggleman’s handling of the situation has been poor. Apparently, neither Morgan or Riggleman has lost he clubhouse, but maybe they should have — the team doesn’t need to deal with any of this nonsense. I don’t think I have a problem with Morgan never playing for the Nats again.

You know who is probably really happy about the brawl? Scott Olsen — he gave up 9 runs in 1 2/3 innings last night. He probably won’t be around much longer.

Wil Nieves hit an upper deck home run. Who knew?

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Did the Nats 2010 season bottom-out yesterday? Strasburg needs another MRI

Yesterday was not a good day for the Washington Nationals.

Stephen Strasburg headed to disabled listThe Post
Embarrassed by their auraNats Insider
On the field, they were routed 9-1 by the visiting Chicago Cubs. Manager Jim Riggleman suggested there was a lack of effort. Players said they were embarrassed. The “aura” was used again and its never used positively with this team. Liván Hernández had nothing, but pitched over 4 innings, 120 pitches.

Stephen Strasburg headed to disabled listThe Post
Zuckerman: Strasburg Headed To DLCSN Washington
Of even greater concern that last night’s loss is the condition of Stephen Strasburg‘s right arm. An initial MRI was not terribly promising, so the rookie will undergo a second examination, only with liquid injected into his arm, the so-called “wet MRI.” A trip to the disabled list is assured.

Kerry Wood thinks Strasburg should shut it down for the year. – CSN Washington

TALKING HEADS!

Stephen Strasburg headed to disabled listThe Post
“Post sports columnist Thomas Boswell will be online Tuesday, Aug. 24, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss the latest on Stephen Strasburg, now headed for the disabled list, this time with a forearm/elbow injury suffered Saturday night in Philadelphia. An MRI exam taken Sunday, while ultimately inconclusive, gave the team enough cause for concern to shut him down, at least temporarily, and order a more detailed exam. ”

Lastly, Rob Dibble is an idiot who disproves his own argument (DC Sports Bog, The Post). Sure, Josh Willingham played hurt and STUNK!

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