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Mike Rizzo Quotes On Acta and Riggleman

The following is a transcript of the comments from Mike Rizzo, the acting general manager of the Washington Nationals, about the firing of Manny Acta as manager.

I'd like to take today to make an announcement that the Washington Nationals today have relieved Manny Acta of his duties as manger of the Washington Nationals and named Jim Riggleman as the interim field manager. And also, with that said, we're going to make Pat Corrales the bench coach of the wash nationals for the rest of the season. I will be meeting with Jim Riggleman a little later on this afternoon to discuss a multitude of issues we have with the ballclub and the upcoming calendar. With that said, we are taking all questions.

When you make a change, you think you can do better. Can you talk about the timing, and do you think another manager would have gotten more than 26 wins out of the talent?
As far as the timing, this was a decision we finalized over the weekend with the management team in Washington. We feel that the team has underachieved. We feel that we had a better ballclub than we've shown on the field; 26-61 is unacceptable to not only the Lerner family, Stan Kasten and myself and the ballclub. We feel with a different voice and possibly a different feel in the clubhouse that we can have a more successful second half of the season. We think we have pieces in place here to have some type of success. We also acknowledge out flaws as a ballclub and we're working hard before the trade deadline to address the flaws and to make prudent baseball deals to improve the ballclub for the longterm also.

Why make this move now? And was it a sense that he was losing players?
I don't believe he was losing players in the clubhouse. I do believe that we kept for a while now kept thinking this was going to turn around, that we were going to start playing better. We always continued to underachieve in my opinion. We thought this was a prudent time to make a move. The all-star break gives us time to get our ducks in a row to prepare not only the staff for the second half of the season but the personnel of the ballclub but the player sin the clubhouse.

Jim is the interim manager. Does he have opportunity to have job?
Jim Riggleman is a terrific baseball person. He's a baseball guy from the old school. He's a guy with nine seasons of experience as a major league manager, and he's certainly a guy I respect greatly. I know the organization respects him greatly, and he certainly will be a candidate to be the longterm answer as a manager.

What are your goals or expectations for the second half?
We have specific goals and expectations for the second half. They're not predicated on wins and losses. We have a plan in place. We're looking at many objectives. One of them is to play the game the right way, to continue tot play hard as they did under Manny Acta. And we're going to continue to stress the fundamentals. We need each and every player to look at themselves and take accountability for the season they're having. We need t the club to stay focused. Those are just a few of the goals and expectations for the second half. That said we're very excited about our prospects going forward din this season. We look at a very good young starting rotation. We look at a core of several young exciting players. We're very excited about the trade we've already made this season, acquiring Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett. We like the dynamic that Nyjer brings us to the outfield and in the lineup. And we like the role Sean has played in the bullpen. When we do become a viable candidate for the championships, he would be a viable candidate in the bullpen. We're excited about the second half of this season. Were going to go into it starting Wednesday on a positive. I'm going to meet with Jim Riggleman later on this afternoon.

What are the differences between Acta and Riggleman?
I just believe the team is better than what they've show so many something in a diff voice, a different way of presenting possibly the same material, could have an effect. Jim is known as a players manager but he's also a tough disciplinarian. He's got an intensity to him. And I believe he's going to show the young players that this is a difficult game to play but it's great way to make a living and to really embrace your opportunity you have in Washington.

How long had this been in the works, in light of the Fox Sports report that he would be fired at an earlier time?
The Fox report a month ago was inaccurate. I was acted about it before the announcement was made and I said it was an inaccurate assessment at the time. We're always being evaluated in this business, specifically a manger of a major league franchise is being evaluated. Getting off to such a slow start obviously started the rumor mill going but like is aid we always thought we were going to turn this thing around and play baseball the way we thought we were capable of playing. When we couldn't put anything together and be consistent. We thought the all-star break was a prudent time to make a change.

The MASN analysts were critical of the team the other night. Did that have any affect on this decision? And can you address the idea that Acta was too passive?
Manny's personality was one of his strengths as a manager. He's a very even keel person. The majority of the ballclubs in the major leagues, not getting too high with success and not getting too low with defeat is kind of a good match for a ballclub. To answer your question about the announcing team, that had no credence in my mind about the decision we made with many. We don't take into account what they announcers say about what's going on in the clubhouse or the manager's office. I'm there every day I see the way many directs his troops and the way he handled his ball club. And his even keeled ness and kindness, behind closed doors he was able to get into some players faces. He as abel to be very stern with them. As far as the announcers' statements having anything to do with this, I would say it had absolutely nothing to do with what's happened today.

Did you ask Acta to be more vocal with the club?
Manny and I have discussed the handled of the ballclub and how you handle business son a daily basis. Manny is Manny. He has his personality and his way of doing things. It got him from the Dominican Republic to being a manager of a major league ball club. He felt that as him and that was his personality and its very difficult to ask someone to change their way of thinking and their personality.

Do you agree with the MASN announcers' suggestion that another player needs to take control of the clubhouse and get in other players' faces?
I think on a veteran laden ballclub that's often the case. That was the case with me in 2001 when we won the World Series in Arizona. We had Matt Williams and Jay Bell and Mark Grace to do most of the disciplining of the younger players. With a younger ballclub it's much more difficult for a young player to get in the face of another young player, although I think its needed at times. It's often a difficult dynamic in the clubhouse when you have such a young core group of players.

Given how this season has shaped up, and what you have here, at what point do you look at it and say there's only so good this team can be?
There's a certain level of achievement we thought the roster could get to, and we haven't reached it, in my opinion.

Are you satisfied with the players' effort?
I am satisfied for the most part with the effort we've given. I'm not satisfied with the way we play the game at times. We don't execute nearly as often as expect them to. But the effort as far as the hustle and the preparation is there. The consistency of the effort and the hustle needs work. Certainly the way we play the game and fundamentally the way we play the game needs a lot of work.

Why didn't the team respond to Acta and why will it respond to Riggleman?
Each team responds to their managers in a different way. I think the response was from a slow start out of the gates and during the regular season and getting into a hole they felt they couldn't get out of. I think that was a big part of it. sometimes the even keelness of the manager plays into that buy not being a little more vocal or a little bit hard edged.

How eager is Riggleman to do this?
Jim's very eager to become a major league manager again. That's something he aspires to do. The timing of this thing, we met with Manny after the returned from the road trip. I met with him in my office late last night. Jim was apprised of Manny being replaces. At that time, late last night, I asked him to be the interim manager of the Washington Nationals. He was saddened by Manny being let go. He's very loyal and dedicated coach under Manny but was excite din his own right to be given an opportunity to be a major league manager again.

By Mark Viera  |  July 13, 2009; 2:35 PM ET
 
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Next: Kasten's Remarks from the Presser

Comments

Nice questions, IMO.
Blah Blah Blah answers.

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 13, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"Rizzo says he's pursuing a "cautiously aggressive" course in the contract negotiations with Strasburg and his advisor, Scott Boras, but said that aside from an initial conversation around the time of the June 9 draft, "Honestly, we haven't really talked since then." (From SI.com)

Really? You're kidding right??!!
Wow. That's not good. A whole freakin month and not one word. nice negotiations.
So long Strasburg.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 13, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

dovelevine,

Last year it came down to the last minute with their #1 draftee, and the sides were a whopping $500,000 apart. So the Nats of course decided to pocket the money.

This year the same scenario is playing out, except this year the Nats will probably sign their top guy. After all, the Nats have been saving money all year to free up the signing money for Strasburg.

However, even if the Nats do not sign Strasburg, they can wait a year, sign some guy at 1A with a 3.80 college ERA who was regarded as a late-first or sandwich round pick, and sign him for under-slot money. Again, the Nats would pocket the money saved. If that happens again in 2009, that will be what happened in 2008. So it is not a stretch. And the loyal fans will still be there for the Nats.

Posted by: EdDC | July 13, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Such nonsense Riggleman has no chance with this bunch of misfits and BTW Zim wouldn't even be considered for the Allstar Team if he hadn't had his hitting streak which is long gone .Best of all no answer on what Rizzo would consider a good job for the rest of the season , how about since everything is coming together because of Acta , how about 45% wins .He just will not make a decided comment Well they are a long way off 45% without Manny

Posted by: kjmoon | July 13, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I came across an online community for individual seeking interracial love. It is --Mixedmingle dot com--- All singles there are seeking interracial relationships and sports friends. Interracial is not a problem here, but a great merit to cherish!

Posted by: sallyworking2006 | July 13, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

I am glad to see that Nats have decided not to mince words with the Acta firing, underachiever and unaccpetable are words that ring true about this season. Couple those comments with Ryan's comments about Acta not sticking up for his guys, not being vocal and using the excuse about being young makes me think this move was very necessary. Good luck to Rig and welcome back Pat Corrales!!!

Posted by: markfd | July 13, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

As much as I enjoy those 3 little words at the start of a post by a lady; "I came across", I really don't see how "sallyworking2006"'s repeated posts have anything whatsoever to do with baseball in general or the topic at hand.

On point, good luck to Manny in his next endeavours. I'm sure that no matter how much any of us carped about him, we all wish him well.

Posted by: shygaard | July 14, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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