This is the third managerial ‘candidate’ to succeed Dusty Baker that I have written about. I first expressed my own opinion that Tony Larussa would be the best bet. You can read it here if you missed it. That was followed by David Bell, whom I do not view as a candidate. Here is what I said about him.
This brings us to who many think is one of the two front-runners, Bryan Price being the other. Jim Riggleman has been around the game as a manager for 12 years. He began with the San Diego Padres in 1992 and pulled three years there before heading to Wrigley Field. He only won 38+ percent of his games with the Padres and finished no higher than third while there.
Riggleman actually had a good season with the Cubbies in 1998 when they finished second with 90 wins. He took the Cubs to the playoffs that year and was swept by the Atlanta Braves. That was the only time he had a winning season while managing 162 games.
He stayed with Chicago for five seasons, then his blip went off the radar for eight years. In 2008 he surfaced in the American League with the Seattle Mariners for a half-season.
The Washington Nationals hired Riggleman in 2009. He gave them one full season and pieces of two others. He quit on them in 2011 with the team playing one game above .500. That is the crux of the beef many have with the 60-year old skipper. He walked away from the Nationals when he realized the team would not extend his contract. Rather than continue on in a ‘lame duck’ capacity, he opted for the couch which is a managerial faux pas. That is the same situation that Sarah Palin finds herself in after giving up her post as governor of Alaska. You have to finish what you start.
“As I’ve told many people, it wasn’t the smart thing to do,” Riggleman said. “But it was thought out and it had been going for a while, but it wasn’t the smart decision. But I thought it was the right decision. That’s the consequences sometimes. Things don’t work out perfectly as you hope. I got to live with my decision.”
Riggleman just finished his first season managing the Louisville Bats, guiding them to a 69-75 record. He did finish with a three-game winning streak however.
What, if anything you just read, makes you think he should replace Baker? His total line as a manager is 662-824 which boils down to a .445 mark. Impressive? In those 12 years he did receive votes for Manager of the Year twice. In 1995 he came in fifth in the voting, while in 1998 he came in third.
In my view, Riggleman is not the right man to be a manager of a MLB team by design. His portion is the same as that of Pete Mackanin, to be an interim manager filling in until the Muckety Mucks can find the right man. Someone needs to manage the Bats, let him stay there until he gets it right.