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It's official: Riggleman to return in 2011

The Nationals announced the return of Manager Jim Riggleman for the 2011 season, making official what had been widely assumed and reported at the end of the regular season. The Nationals went 69-93 this year, making Riggleman's record 102-135 with Washington since taking over midway through 2009 on an interim basis.

Barring a contract extension, Riggleman will work next year without 2012 guaranteed. Riggleman signed a two-year contract last winter with a club option for 2012. The Nationals could have bought out Riggleman for a relatively paltry $100,000 this offseason, but General Manager Mike Rizzo chose to bring him back.

While defending his players and expressing constant optimism in public, Riggleman has developed a far more disciplinarian reputation inside the Nationals clubhouse.

Riggleman's entire coaching staff will return as well.

By Adam Kilgore  | October 26, 2010; 7:51 PM ET
Categories:  Jim Riggleman  
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Next: Brad Peacock's emergence and an Arizona Fall League update


Given the fact that the Nats pay their managers practically nothing by MLB standards, Riggleman is not that bad of a choice. The players seem to respect him and he makes fairly solid decisions most of the time. If the Nats were free to pay their managers MLB wages, then that's another story. That would open up the range of choices. But that's not the case.

Posted by: EdDC | October 26, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

This team did not lose last year because of Riggleman. I don't think he's a great manager but the problem is clearly lack of talent, not misusing the talent.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | October 26, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Cristian Guzman making EIGHT point FIVE million as the starting super utility man, always batting second? Never walking? With the low OBP? Making unbelievable errors?

I would characterize that as a misuse of talent.

God I hope Riggleman does not find a way to bring he and Harris back. Its time to go younger and better.

Posted by: periculum | October 26, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Guzman's salary has nothing to do with Riggleman's managing. Batting him 2nd was not a great move however. How would you have liked Riggleman to improve Guzman's approach at the plate? To me the managers job is to work with the talent he has and since he did not have that much to begin with we can't really tell what kind of manager he is. I also don't think he is a great manager but don't use Guzman's salary as an example of bad managing.

Posted by: sjm3091 | October 27, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Ditto that. You have a .300 hitting SS/2B, you don't sit him on the bench unless you have a much better alternative. Guzman was an albatross around Riggleman's neck. However, if there is not quite a bit of improvement in 2011, the albatross will be replaced with a rope. That said, I am pulling for him and hope the team gives him some talent to work with.

Posted by: Natstoyou | October 27, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

I guess what happened up the road a bit (O's turnaround with a (new) "real" manager) doesn't matter to this team. Time has past for keeping Dunn (should've traded him since they knew they weren't going to sign him). Strasburg done for a year, no B Harper on the horizon. No plans to go after any big Free-agents - Werth, Crawford, Lee. But getting new Uniforms is an excellent idea. It'll be another fine time with sell-out crowds at the "NAT."

Posted by: Dog-1 | October 27, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse


You are right about what is happening in zeroesland not mattering in DC. This site is about the Nationals not about the 0's. Kindly keep your comments related to the site you are posting to. Showalter has a tendency to outlast his welcome. He will in zeroesland also.

Go away unless you intend to keep your comments related to the Nationals. otherwise you are just an annoyance and spoiling everyone else's enjoyment.

Posted by: WashOut | October 27, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Riggleman's decisions to play Guzman regularly was a terrible misuse of talent and did more to harm this team than anything else.
Riggleman chose to match his rookie shortstop and his poor fielding 1st baseman with a guy with no experience at second base and terrible range.

If Riggs had just played Kennedy everyday, everyone would have been better off.

Any surprise that when Rizzo got rid of Guzman, Kennedy fielding and hitting improved and Desmond's fielding and hitting improved? Not to me.

Guzman's bat has always been over-rated. A .306 career OBP is lousy. Not really any other way to look at it.

Posted by: Sunderland | October 27, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

"You have a .300 hitting SS/2B, you don't sit him on the bench unless you have a much better alternative."

Adam Kennedy WAS the better alternative.
Career OBP of .330, and well over 1,000 games played at 2B, a widely respected capable MLB professional 2B.

Instead, Rizzo plays a .306 career OBP guy with zero game experience at 2B.

Posted by: Sunderland | October 27, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Hope and change, baby!

Posted by: JohnRDC | October 27, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

But you have to admit, for an older guy Jim looks damn good in a uniform. You look at some of these old fat managers, they just look silly out there with a number on their backs. At least Jim looks like he could still run the bases with out risking a heart attack.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 27, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

The good news in this article came solely from the following phrase: "Riggleman will work next year without 2012 guaranteed."

I do not believe we will become genuine contenders as long as Jim Riggleman is our manager, even despite the fact that we seem to have the talent on the field for it.

He has too quick a hook and doesn't locate the infield and outfield personnel properly for various situations. If a manager cannot handle those two essential game duties, the team will not win up to its potential.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | October 27, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I am thinking Stop Sign Pat Listasch may end up in Chicago wth Quade as a bench coach, so maybe the whole coaching staff will not be back.

Anyway, a lot of criticism from the crowd here on Riggleman's use of Guz. Bash Riggleman for how he handled the rotation or bull pen, or his in-game calls, or whatever, but knocking the guy for having played a former All Star who had hit well above .300 for the last two years, and who was making $8M is reaching.

Guzman is a perfect 2 hole hitter -- high contact rate, puts the ball in play on the ground for a high avergae, hits from both sides, decent speed (if Morgan had been able to either get on base or stay there Guz may have had quite a first half); it is tough to say Riggleman obviously should not have played him in that lineup spot. OBP is not some magic stat that determines a players value. A walk does not score Morgan from second or move him from first to third. Hits are important, and Guz can get hits.

Given that Guz can hit and that he was making $8M, he was going to play. Club's need guys who can hit and a club cannot trade a guy who is not playing.

The safe play for Riggleman would have been to trot Guz out at SS and play Kennedy at 2B every day, but the organization (inclduing Riggleman) made the call to develop Desmond at the big league level and hope that Guzman could adapt to playing 2B. And Guzman pretty much did adapt. He was not the next coming of Joe Morgan out there with the glove at 2B, but he played capably enough. And he came out of May hitting something like .325. Was Riggleman supposed to keep him out of the lineup when Kennedy was struggling mightily at the time? No.

Posted by: dfh21 | October 27, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

me·di·o·cre (md-kr) -- adj.-- Moderate to inferior in quality; ordinary. See Synonyms at average.

"Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With [Riggleman] it had been all three" (Joseph Heller Catch-22)

Posted by: wahoo2x | October 27, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

His handling of Guzman is more than defensible, especially given the need to maintain his trade value. But the way he burned through bench players with double switches might have had a little to do with the team's atrocious extra-innings record. There were times when I wondered if he knew he was allowed to change the lineup one player at a time.

The second coming of John McGraw couldn't have won much more that 75 games with the 2010 Nats roster. Until the talent level improves, the manager is not the primary obstacle to contender's status.

Posted by: zimbar | October 27, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Guzman and Kennedy had the same OBP in 2010. I agree Riggs was not given much to work with this season, and he is probably as good a low-budget choice as the Nats could make.

Posted by: EdDC | October 27, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Anyway, who cares about Guzman or even Riggleman at this point. My eyes are o nRizzo, I hope he's finding a way to ink Jorge de la Rosa right now. An in his prime lefty SP with swing and miss stuff is the kind of thing will go a long way to help Riggleman look like Casey Stengel.

Posted by: dfh21 | October 27, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

The main point about Guzman is not his bat. It's deciding that to play a guy at 2B who had never played there before, teaming him with a rookie shortstop with a high error rate and a less than average first baseman.

We'd have been better off with an everyday combo of Desmond and Kennedy (or Kennedy and Guz as dfh21 mentioned). Who has ever platooned 3 middle infielders and done well?

And let's not pretend that Guzman was ever a legitimate All-Star. He made the team only because of the "every team must be represented" rule. He was certainly never among the top 4 shortstops in his league.

Posted by: Sunderland | October 27, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I agree with dfh21, I'm more concerned with Rizzo and how he's going to improve this roster.

Riggs is an average manager but the roster is below average. That is where the focus should be. Come on Uncle Teddy, spend some damn money!

Posted by: Section505203 | October 27, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Section505203, agreed.
Riggs is not important one way or another to this team right now.

Posted by: Sunderland | October 27, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

All you have to do is look at how bad their defense was, and the lack of situational hitting to know that he has virtually no influence on the players. Got new uniforms though and don't that Riggleman look good in a uniform. Ain't the beer cold.

Posted by: Brue | October 27, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: richs91 | October 27, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse


Talk about a worthless prize.

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | October 27, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Riggs is an average manager but the roster is below average. That is where the focus should be. Come on Uncle Teddy, spend some damn money!

Posted by: Section505203 | October 27, 2010 11:05 AM
Just pray Uncle Teddy isn't looking at Boswell's column today, writing about how two teams with middle-of-the-pack salaries got into the World Series.

Posted by: gilbertbp | October 27, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"....Riggleman's entire coaching staff will return as well".

Ohh great. Failure fully rewarded.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | October 27, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Damn........... and the bashing continues i'm not gonna pile on Riggs(lord knows i've taken enough shot's at him) So who do you guy's like in the Series i'm torn because i was a huge Giants fan in my youth and i won the pool at the office on who would make the Series.I was very happy for Nolan Ryan and Ron Washington of the Rangers,i think the Rangers will win it seven games.

Posted by: dargregmag | October 27, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Guzman and Kennedy had the same OBP in 2010.

So you're saying Riggleman should have played Kennedy when Kennedy was younger.

Posted by: markfromark | October 27, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

With Riggleman, I guarantee another sub .500 season....


Posted by: charley42 | October 27, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Kennedy instead of Guzman. That's a good one. Every time Riggleman went to his defensive replacements, he'd bring in Kennedy for an error or two at first base.

The best outfield most of the season wsa Willingham (L), Bernadina (C), and Morse (R). He's so in love with that useless Morgan that he simply shouldn't be manager. Morgan's one of the worst players I've ever seen (certainly the dumbest).

Is Riggleman aware you can replace the pitcher without a double switch? How many games did he double switch, or put in defensive replacements (who all stunk) and take out his bats. As soon as the errors occurred he was left with Willie Harris, Kennedy, and other crap to try to regain the blown lead.

For those complaining about Guz's statistics, there's no question that statistically, Riggleman's the worst manager in baseball history. One winning season with the Cubs (who had a very good team - just a real lousy manager).

Looks like Dunn will be gone, Idiot Morgan in center field and Riggleman losing games.

60 wins is a pipe-dream.

Posted by: bflorhodes | October 27, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse


The World Series hasn't even started and already there is no reason to hope the mighty Gnats will be any better next year than this year.

Riggleman's has what? A career .440-something winning average??? Translation: His teams (with the exception of one year in Chicago) have ALWAYS been losers. The Gnats are a AA to AAA talent base at best and they have just re-signed a coach whose career is half a notch above failure.

Please tell me there is more to the "plan" than this.

How utterly and abjectly depressing.

Posted by: medic2010 | October 27, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

So who do you guy's like in the Series i'm torn because i was a huge Giants fan in my youth and i won the pool at the office on who would make the Series...

Posted by: dargregmag | October 27, 2010 4:47 PM
Rangers, 'cuz the missus is from Dallas.

Posted by: gilbertbp | October 27, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

The O's get the Bucker and take off. The O's get the Bucker and take off!!! Nats get Riggle... and huh.. The O's get Bucky and take off!!!!!!

Posted by: Dog-1 | October 27, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

there's no question that statistically, Riggleman's the worst manager in baseball history

That's a silly statement.

Posted by: markfromark | October 27, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I don't do predictions, but as a former Bay Area resident I'm rooting for the Giants. Also, that claw and antlers thing seems kinda bush league to me, particularly when it's done on the field. Your mileage may vary.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 28, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

This is disappointing news, but not unexpected. Oh well. SloLerners.

Posted by: MartinZook | October 28, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

As to the series...I'm surprised no one mentioned that the current Rangers are the old Senators (II). With a long memory, I wish them ill and am happy they're down 2. I hope it's the Giants in 4 -- anybody but the Rangers!

Posted by: lcovello | October 29, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

How can anyone take this club seriously when they keep signing their manager for one year at a time?

Posted by: paulkp | October 31, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

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