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There is going to be a lot of change inside the Nationals organization this off-season. They have to find some way to replace Stan Kasten, they'll most likely be trying to replace Adam Dunn as well and the team has said they'd like to bring in a front of the rotations starting pitcher. Which is why I think it was so important to keep some continuity by bringing back Jim Riggleman.
The only legitimate reason I can see for letting a manager go is if he isn't able to get the most out of the talent the team has assembled; if their record isn't as high on the field as it is on paper. But that isn't the case with Riggleman. The team he has isn't very good, so he can't really be to blame for their performance.
The Nationals won 10 more games in 2010 than they did the year before and with the progression of their young talent, I expect that figure to rise again next year. I watched a lot of Nationals game this year and I think the highest praise I can give to Riggleman is that this team never stopped playing hard.
Even when they had no shot at the division and were consistently over-matched on a nightly basis, the Nationals always competed. That attitude, I believe, begins with the manager. The players understand the importance of playing hard for their coach and they respect him enough to put forth maximum effort. It's the measure of a good relationship between players and their manager.
At this point in their re-building there was no reason to bring in a new manager to bring the most out of this team. Even if it isn't translating to wins, Jim Riggleman is already doing that.
Today's must-reads from around the SB Nation network:
- With the offense mostly in shambles, Hogs Haven is choosing to focus on the defense.
- Federal Baseball on Jim Riggleman returning as Nationals manager.
- In advance of Maryland's game against Wake Forest, Testudo Times takes a look at the Deacon's one big play threat.
On SB Nation D.C. today: Ben Broman with his ACC Power Rankings.