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Jim Riggleman likely to remain Nationals manager in 2011

The Nationals have yet to make a public declaration about Manager Jim Riggleman's status for 2011, but there are strong indications emerging from the organization that Riggleman, 95-127 since taking over midway through last season, will return for his second full season as Nationals manager.

"We haven't announced a final call, but we've made a definite decision," General Manager Mike Rizzo said tonight. "We haven't made an announcement to him or to the public."

Rizzo was asked if the fact that Riggleman remained the manager at this point could be read into. "Yeah," Rizzo said. "That's something you could read into."

Riggleman signed a two-year contract this offseason in a strict legal sense, but in reality his contract is more tenuous. Riggleman made $600,000 this season. The Nationals can buy him out of that contract at the end of the season for $100,000, and even $700,000 - the total of Riggleman's 2010 salary and a potential buyout - is less than a typical major league manager makes in a season.

The Nationals would need to inform Riggleman they are buying him out of his contract by the day after the finish of the World Series, according to a source with knowledge of Riggleman's agreement. But it appears almost certain the Nationals will not exercise the option and instead keep Riggleman.

"I think he's done a good job," third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "I think we've all had a good time playing for him. It's not one of those things that's up to us. Whatever happens, happens. I think Jim's done a really good job with what he's been asked to do with what he's got here. I've got nothing bad to say about him.

"All the good teams usually have one guy that's there for a long time. Having consistency in that position definitely helps."

Riggleman has managed through a tumultuous season, especially for his pitching staff. The Nationals have used 14 starting pitchers, most in the major leagues. The No. 1 opening day starter, John Lannan, spent six weeks in Class AA. Their No. 2 opening day starter, Jason Marquis, compiled an ERA over 20 in three starts then spent most of the year the disabled list.

Stephen Strasburg, a temporary staff savior, made only 12 starts because of injury. Even before Strasburg pitched, Riggleman impressed the Nationals with how he handled everything surrounding his immensely hyped arrival in the majors.

"The whole circus of Strasburg leading up throughout the season, that was management," Rizzo said. "There was a lot of management that he had to do to get through that. I think he kept everybody at their best while that was going on."

Rizzo also praised Riggleman's work during games.

"What we've always liked about, as in-game strategist, he's really good about that," Rizzo said. "He's as good as anybody. We've gone through some trials and tribulations this year, some real highs and some lows - both extremes."

The Nationals hope next season, unlike this one, brings more highs than low. If it does, Riggleman, it seems, will be there for it. Riggleman has spent this season with a lack of security, which Rizzo believes did not change the manager's approach.

"I don't think it affects the way he does his job one way or the other," Rizzo said. "The way he goes about his business, he's managing and preparing like he would if he had a long-term contract or with no contract. That's just his personality."

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 18, 2010; 5:42 PM ET
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Next: Ross Detwiler to start next week



And that's putting it nicely.

Posted by: swanni | September 18, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Bad progress this year or next....fired by June 15, talks and this is all about saving money.

Posted by: JayBeee | September 18, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I can only hope that this is one of those votes of confidence where the guy is fired 2 weeks later...

Posted by: comish4lif | September 18, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse


If this about saving money and firing the guy in June 2011, I don't think you understand the buyout clause in his contract very well. If you are suggesting they're sticking with him because any other option would cost more than they've got him locked up for, that's another story.

Posted by: flotsam3 | September 18, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

JayBee makes a valid point. Buyout or not, Riggleman is one of the lowest compensated managers in baseball. Are you saying that's not an overwhelming factor with our Nats?

Posted by: EdDC | September 18, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman as Natinals manager in 2011 = Yet another sub-.500 season in DC.


Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 18, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Once again the we don't like Riggleman fools are on parade.He has done a great job of developing the younger players,while providing veterans with quality playing time.Additionally he has had an injury riddled and ineffective starting rotation for much of the year and compensated by juggling last years weakness(the bullpen)into the 4th best by ERA in the league. He has accomplished this despite the trade of his closer(a reclamation project) for a future long term catching solution. Last night's outfield of Bernadina,Maxwell and Harris may have been statistically the worst to ever start a major league game, yet you have never heard a word that was not supportive of the Nats future. The record will show improvement this year, but the improvement you should notice is not in the standings it's on the field. This team has become younger,more athletic and far more interesting this year and both Riggleman and Rizzo should be commended. Next year they will be more experienced and able to select free agents that want to be here rather than trying to fill holes in the program depth charts. An excellent team will be here by 2012 and Riggleman will be running it so deal with it and pay attention as you fools sure have a lot to learn.

Posted by: wellscats | September 18, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

If it weren't for the great bullpen Rizzo gave Riggleman, the record would be as bad as last year. That's all you have to know.
Fire him already.

Posted by: amo36 | September 18, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

that's fine with me...i have always predicted at least 8 out of 10 last place finishes and ol RETREAD is just the CHEAP hire to make it happen ...... to put em in a put the most fundamentally unsound team in MLB on the field....

Posted by: GRIMReaper55 | September 18, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

DoubleSwitch Riggleman retained?
What a great Christmas present in September for the Os!! They can hardly contain their glee down on Eutaw Street.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 18, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: wellscat.....Both Riggleman and Rizzo should be commended. Next year they will be more experienced and able to select free agents that want to be here rather than trying to fill holes in the program depth charts. An excellent team will be here by 2012 and Riggleman will be running it so deal with it and pay attention as you fools sure have a lot to learn////////// Scary that there are NOTS GEEKS unafraid to climb out from under their rock... and type this kinda BS...... I hope the LERNERS repented this weekend for the cheap hire of this loser who won't even match his mediocre .444 lifetime %%%% in yet another LAST PLACE season....

Posted by: GRIMReaper55 | September 18, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

This guy is a step up from Acta but thats not saying much. Hes a subpar manager.His in game strategy is horrible. He constantly switches pitchers out after one hitter and always seems to get team in situation where no position players are left if game goest to 10 inn. Also doesnt seem aware of who we are playing and whats needed to win. Why do you play for one run in the first inning against the phillies and run team out of big inning? Like that one run will hold up? Just stupid baseball. Another year to followe. Yuck!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: dc_sports_md_va | September 19, 2010 2:48 AM | Report abuse

Hey wellscats open your eyes. This team is horrible. They go into a coma weeks at a time. Maybe win one or two in a year then repeat the process. Do you see all the empty seats at the park? There isnt much positive pulling this team forward. Young players didnt come along this year like we needed them to and we have an overexagerrated double switch play for one run in the first innning mgr. What a nightmare. No wonder the team is giving away 2 season tix for every 2 you purchase nextt yr.

Posted by: dc_sports_md_va | September 19, 2010 2:53 AM | Report abuse

The Os this year have shown what a difference a real manager can make.

One of the worst things that have happened to the Nats was that winning streak they went on at the end of last season. Had that not occurred, Buck Showalter might have become OUR manager.

Oh Joe! Joe Torre! Can you hear us? Just think of the feather in your cap it would be if you could transform our Nats into champions as you have so many others.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | September 19, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

My goodness, so many naysayers out there. Thank god we have Mike Rizzo running this team and making the decisions.

Posted by: cokedispatch | September 19, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Too bad. How I yearn for the 81-81 team of 2005. I can only see Riggleman coming back as a sign that it's another "give up" year of "young player" development. It's gonna be ugly.

Posted by: richs91 | September 19, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

wellscats......I'm with you all the way dude. Forget the arm chair managers, Rizzo knows what he is doing and he's bringing back the right guy for this team.

Posted by: CHAMP1464 | September 19, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Why let him bo? $600,000 a year is chump change for a manager.

Posted by: boyn4884 | September 19, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

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