Sunday June 26, 2011 1:52 am
Jim Riggleman’s reasons continue to intrigue
A managerial change in professional sports usually grabs headlines for a day or so before things return to normal, especially in-season. But the situation developing with former Washington Nationals manager Jim Riggleman walking out on his team after they won a game on Thursday night has continued to pique interests nationwide. Riggleman cites a lack of respect as baseball’s lowest-paid manager as one reason why he chose to relieve himself as the skipper and leave.
Riggleman said that if the Nationals didn’t pick up a one-year option on his contract by the end of Thursday’s game, he’d quit. By the final pitch, nothing had changed. The early criticism was that it was a club option that Riggleman tried to force, and that’s fair. Regardless how he felt he was treated, he’s now put himself in a position where it’ll be tough to find another manager’s job – at least not soon.
Washington has a growing reputation as a low-paying franchise. Riggleman, at about $600,000 was making less as a manager than Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo - $200,000 less. Regardless how Riggleman handled the situation (and the two teams’ respective records); the principles here are enough to make anyone unhappy. Former team president Stan Kasten also had a rocky relationship with owner Ted Lerner before his departure in 2010. Few have faulted Kasten’s decision to leave.
Meanwhile, the Nationals are one of baseball’s hottest teams lately, going 16-7 in June after Saturday’s loss. Contributions have come from everybody lately as the team continues a lengthy rebuild. 68-year-old Davey Johnson, former manager of the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, and Baltimore Orioles, looks to be the one to take over Riggleman’s duties, but contract details still need to be negotiated. Based on recent history, whatever amount of money Johnson’s asking for may be too much.
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