It feels like he has been here for longer, but Jim Riggleman has only been the Nationals' manager for a year. It was July 13th of last year that the Nationals fired Manny Acta, and Riggleman took over as the then interim manager. Riggleman was offered the full time gig after he guided the team to a fairly successful second half, by Nationals standards at least.â†µ
A full year in, and Riggleman is seen mostly as a success. But as Adam Kilgore points out, he may be coaching for his job in the second half.â†µ
The Nationals owe Riggleman $600,000 this season. While the Nationals cannot technically opt out until after 2011, they will be able to buy Riggleman out of the contract for $100,000 after this season. Therefore, Riggleman is guaranteed only one year. The Nationals could pay Riggleman $700,000 for this season and not retain him, a total that, even with the buyout money, is less than a typical year's pay for a major league manager.â†µ
There is nothing to suggest that the Nationals are unhappy with Riggleman at the helm, but teams that finish last place in the division are known to make change just for the sake of change. Getting rid of Riggleman would be an inexpensive way to do that. I think he is the right man for the job, but he may become the victim of coaching a team that is simply not ready to succeed.