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Rizzo and Riggleman

There were only two people on the stage in the interview room at Nationals Park on Thursday afternoon -- Washington Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo and Manager Jim Riggleman. President Stan Kasten was in the room, as was principal owner Mark Lerner, but both were off to the side.

The message was clear: This was Rizzo's hire. (Kasten said as much explicitly, after the news conference had ended.) Like Riggleman, Rizzo had done his job for several months on an interim basis, before being named to the permanent job. As an ice-breaker while introducing Riggleman, Rizzo cracked, "You know how much I love those interim titles."

Here are some other interesting quotes from Thursday's news conference. We'll have more here on the Riggleman hire later.

*Rizzo (on Riggleman): "He did a masterful job in very trying circumstances [in 2009] ... We did an extensive search and came back to the realization that the best candidate was in-house."

*Riggleman (on his reaction to getting Rizzo's call): "I was extremely excited about it. I followed [the search] like everyone else who's a Nationals fan. ... It's where I want to be."

*Riggleman (on whether he thought he would get another chance to manage again): "I think 'wondered' is the right word.... I stayed in the game because I still wanted to manage. If I had strongly doubted [whether he would get another chance], I would not have continued."

*Rizzo (on choosing Riggleman): "We had a lot of exciting candidates who brought a lot to the table, but in terms of the total package, [Riggleman] was the right guy."

*Rizzo (on Bobby Valentine): "Bobby Valentine was extremely impressive, very communicative, very baseball-knowledgeable, a very bright person in general. ... I interviewed Bobby by phone, then flew [to Valentine's home] and we had a four-hour discussion. He just wasn't the right guy for me at this time."

By Dave Sheinin  |  November 12, 2009; 4:23 PM ET
 
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Next: Zimmerman hauling in more than hardware

Comments

I've been hearing noise about Nats hiring Davey Johnson for a front office position. Whuzzup with that?

Posted by: trezmartin | November 12, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Davey, Davey Johnson, King of the Wild Arbutian's.
Born on a hill near Ft. McHenry,
Hit a home run when he was only threeee ...
Just past the fence near where they buried francis scott key ...

Davey, Davey Johnson, King of the Arbutians.

Posted by: periculum | November 12, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

d'oh, newposted....


more jimmy riggs comps as managers. all "solid baseball guys." all with losing career records........

johnny pesky, billy herman, butch hobson, grady hatton, dave bristol, bob scheffing, harry craft, jim marshall, joey amalfitano, lee elia, jim lefebvre, russ nixon, bob boone, jerry narron, bob lillis, gene lamont, vern rapp, wes westrum, charlie fox, phil regan, cal ripken sr., ray miller, les moss, jeff torborg, terry bevington, ken aspromonte, jor adcock, johnny lipon, dave garcia, bobby winkles, doc edwards, buddy bell, larry parrish, luis (not albert) pujols, ed lopat, heywood sullivan, tony muser, billy gardner, hal mcrae, cookie lavagetto, frank quillici, steve boros, jackie moore, rene lachemann, chuck cottier, del crandall, bill plummer, larry rothschild, roy hartsfield, bobby mattick, doug rader, buck martinez, john gibbons

Posted by: surly_w | November 12, 2009 4:08 PM

Posted by: surly_w | November 12, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all your work, Boom Boom.

Posted by: JohninMpls | November 12, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the great posts, Shiner, and speaking of which, shame on all who did not laud, exalt and generally thank 1A for this sensational riff on this Ertha Kitt classic! To which I would add, "Come on Lerners - all those good players want is a five pound box of money!"

Santa baby, just slip a pitcher under the tree, for me
Been an awful good girl
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, a backup catcher would be good, too - likes chew
I'll wait up for you dear
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

...eh, I'd better get back to work

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 12, 2009 1:33 PM |

Posted by: flynnie2 | November 12, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

FoxSports.com reports today that the Washington Nationals are interested in two free agent shortstops - Alex Gonzalez and Adam Everett.

If they acquire one, it signals the end of Cristian Guzman's days at shortstop, at least in Washington, which ahs been the rumor since before the season ended last month.

Posted by: natsfan007 | November 12, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Come and trim
my Christmas tree
with a second baseman
bought at Tiffany's...

Posted by: Drew8 | November 12, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

@surly: Since the blog as carried a somewhat music-oriented vein of late...

"You can't always get what you want;
But if you try sometimes, you might find that you get what you need". Oh, yeah.

Posted by: BinM | November 12, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

zim with the gold...and silver

Posted by: formerlylove1 | November 12, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Flynnie. And nice addition by Drew.

Great news about Z-man's haul!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 12, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Just saw clips of the Riggleman newser. Did Mike and Jim catch the two-for-one sale at Jos. A. Bank?

Posted by: leetee1955 | November 12, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

They were quite dapper.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 12, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman just won the Silver Slugger. He needs a good nickname. As a Virginia Beach (near the naval base) native who went to UVA, how about "The Virginia Destroyer?"

Posted by: ericp331 | November 12, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I think Mike Rizzo is a total breath of fresh air. I love the closing quote, "He just wasn't the right guy for me at this time". After suffering with JimBow

Posted by: weissa | November 12, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

The host on XM - Joe Castellano I think - was saying that Pablo Sandoval the Kung Fu Panda was robbed, that he deserved the silver slugger far more than Zim. Looking at the stats, he's certainly worthy - OPS .942 vs Zim's .888, but Zim wins the visible numbers contest - 33 hr vs 25, 106 rbi vs 90. Total bases the same - S318-Z320.

Seems like Zim's hit the national radar screen, with the hitting streak early, web gems, GG and that the increased visibility is working for him the way it works for other players who gain a reputation and win awards every year.

Works for me.


Posted by: utec | November 12, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

OK, now the team officially has a manager; Let's start warming up the "hot-stove". The next required move is the tender / non-tender roster decisions for Arbitration-eligible players, due on December 1st. The braintrust has two+ weeks to evaluate the eligible players (Bergmann, Burnett & Nieves, all Arb-1; MacDougal, Olsen & Willingham are all Arb-2), as well as who to offer contracts to from the remaining 40-man roster players, and "controlled" players throughout the minor-league system.

Still a lot to do - Let's hope the staff Rizzo has assembled is up to the task.

Posted by: BinM | November 12, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

The good news is that if everything goes according to plan we'll be here next season or the following season introducing a new manager. This smells like the Lerner's weren't willing to shell out the bucks to bring in a proven winner. I'd rather have Davey Johnson at this point, if he's coming in as a consultant it could have been just as easy to bring him to manage. Valentine may be a egotistical primadonna but it could have gave the Nats much needed juice through D.C. and nationally. We all love the Nats but right now they may be trailing DC United in popularity. This team needs a shot in the arm. A manager who burned out young pitchers and only posted an above .500 career record twice sounds like the penny pincher Lerner's screwed up Rizzo and Kasten's hands. You can't win playing it on the cheap.

Posted by: natsfan007 | November 12, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

They weren't going to get Davey Johnson, Billy Martin, Casey Stengal, or John McGraw. They aren't likely to get to .500 without major signings, and maybe not even then, even if Harley J. Earl were managing. Riggs is it. He'll be as good as his pitching, which will be mediocre if we're lucky.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | November 12, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

"The host on XM - Joe Castellano I think - was saying that Pablo Sandoval the Kung Fu Panda was robbed, that he deserved the silver slugger far more than Zim."

He'll get *nothing* and like it!

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | November 12, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Well we got Davey Johnson, he's a senior consultant.

Posted by: natsfan007 | November 12, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

For those craving the juice of an egotistical primadonna I offer you a seven game end of season winning streak from a 103 loss team with a spent starting rotation and Cap'n Morgan out of action. That, Ladies and Gentlemen is production AND without the melodrama of a Bobby V. Kudos to Rizzo for recognizing a bird in the hand. Haven't we seen enough of sexy, big name hires in this town?

Posted by: SackMan | November 12, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

@natsfan007: A "proven winner" would have been someone like Bob Brenly (303-262 over 3+seasons, +13.6 wins/year) or even Buck Showalter (882-833 over 11 seasons, +4.5 wins/year) before Valentine (1,117-1,072 over 15yrs, +3 wins/year).
I personally think Rizzo wanted Riggleman to return, as did a vocal portion of the team; That might have been the swing point in the decision.

Posted by: BinM | November 12, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the Nats should have spent eleventy billion dollars re-animating Ted Williams and bringing him back to manage. Would that indicate to anyone that the Lerners are willing to spend money?

How about Rizzo simply felt that Bobby Valentine is a prima donna who doesn't do well with young guys who are developing their talent? How about Riggleman made sense because of the rapport that he already has with the players and they seemed to respond to him a little bit during his tenure?

Not every move is made because the Lerners don't want to spend money. Perhaps this was actually the best move for the team. I think that it'll take a year or so to figure out if Riggleman was the right guy. I'm going to give them a pass on this one.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | November 12, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Davey, Davey Johnson, King of the Wild Arbutian's.
Born on a hill near Ft. McHenry,
Hit a home run when he was only threeee ...
Just past the fence near where they buried francis scott key ...

Davey, Davey Johnson, King of the Arbutians.
===========================================
God damn you to hell, periculum, you bastage. Now that tune is going through my brain.

Posted by: gilbertbp | November 12, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Yesssssssssss, nino grease minelli sez:

Davey, Davey Johnson King of the Wild Arbutiiaaans ... or is it spider pig, spider pig, does whatever a spider pig does?

Posted by: periculum | November 12, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Don't encourage me ... :)

Posted by: periculum | November 12, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, most all his i's are dotted and t's crossed. Time to settle in and wait for the coming winter to see what unfolds player-wise ... and then when winter's bite is near its end ... spring training.

Posted by: periculum | November 12, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

In the can't make this stuff up department.

The penultimate radio stooge AKA Holden Kushner was besides himself earlier this evening in regards to "who let the cat out of the bag first" on the naming of Riggleman. Apparently the ratings hound was ticked because (as he called them) the two clowns over on the other station claimed to have had the inside scoop and Holden was emphatic that they were full of sh*t. He and only he had the inside track on this and you want to know why? Because he got it on Tuesday from a source close to the Nationals FO. According to Kushner the claims made by "the two clowns" on TEM that Bowden still has access to the deep dark secrets of the Nationals is bogus. Why do they think this, well according to Kushner he got his tip about the naming of Riggleman by a MLB GM, when word leaked out over at the other station they claimed that it was Bowden and was planting the Riggleman seed in order to deceive the fan base because Bowden was lobbying Mike Rizzo to pick Bobby V. How in the world would Bowden even have any contact with Rizzo, well as it turns out Rizzo is renting JimBo's DC Condo and according to the "clap trappers" over on 980 still pulling the Nat strings.

Summing it all up, neither Kushner, Pollie or Czaban could give a rats-ass about anything Natinals so its sort of funny when they fight over who knows more!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | November 12, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

FoxSports.com reports today that the Washington Nationals are interested in two free agent shortstops -- Alex Gonzalez and Adam Everett.

If they acquire one, it signals the end of Cristian Guzman's days at shortstop, at least in Washington, which ahs been the rumor since before the season ended last month.

The Nats need a catcher, too?

"When pitching is a priority, don't forget the guy calling the game. The Nats need depth at backstop, so expect former franchise guy Brian Schneider to get a call; the Mets have told him they'll no longer need him, and there are plenty of bad car commercials to be shot along the Beltway."

Posted by: periculum | November 12, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Keith Law

You have chosen...poooorly

"Riggleman has no track record of success either in wins and losses or in developing players. His one good season as a manager required a historic effort from Sammy Sosa and an abusive workload for Kerry Wood. Wood, a 21-year-old rookie at the time, threw 120 pitches 8 times in 26 starts for Riggleman in 1998, including 133 in start No. 25. He made one more start that year and didn't pitch again until 2000. (And this guy gets to shepherd a young Stephen Strasburg?) If you're Washington, why hire a guy who hasn't developed young players or shown any ability to, you know, win? And why settle for the guy who happened to be around when you fired the last guy? Passing on Bobby Valentine, a headstrong but effective and forward-thinking manager, for Riggleman reeks of stinginess, and you can forgive Nats fans for thinking the team's ownership is just pound foolish."

Posted by: periculum | November 12, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

After watching the presser, I had the same impression about Rizzo's preference.

---

I personally think Rizzo wanted Riggleman to return, as did a vocal portion of the team; That might have been the swing point in the decision.

Posted by: BinM | November 12, 2009 9:10 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 13, 2009 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and this part doesn't need any tweaking:

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a ring
I don't mean a phone
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 13, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Personally I just think it was time for some management stability. Had Riggs not come back, that would have been the 3rd manager for our guys in the span of a year. Like Selig said, baseball is a game of pacing. And consistency from management is key to developing that pace. Now we go into the offseason with a new front office, and management that is in place. If the people who perceive the plan stay the same, we have a better chance of getting it executed.

Very cool. Now please lock up Adam Dunn for another three years...

Posted by: dand187 | November 13, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

In D-Dogs news, they continued their winning ways with a 11-5 victory over the Solar Sox, who now trail by 2.5 games (with 6 more to play, Sunday being an off day). Phoenix faces Mesa again this afternoon, and one last time next Monday.

Nats in the game: Espinosa had 3 at-bats, 1 hit, 2 runs scored, three walks, and a stolen base. He also had a role in turning a double play.

Mandel (H): 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR (ERA 2.19)

Wilkie: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR (ERA 5.06)

Storen's line: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 0 HR (ERA 0.84)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 13, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

It was mentioned by T. Boswell in his recent article that the Lerners are BFF with Teddy Leonis. If that is true, then this hire is akin to the hiring of coach Glen Hanlon for the Capitals to be a cheap hire and safe sacrificial hire to steer the team while the young talents get their feet wet. Also, people forget that Riggleman was the Chicago Manager between 1997 - 1998, when the Cubs went from last to first in their division so he does have some experience. Unfortunately, he also guided the Cubs from first to last the very next season.

Posted by: JohnWWW | November 13, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

New post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 13, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: hell0715 | November 15, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

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