Earlier this summer, GM Mike Rizzo defended his manager, saying he expected to retain Jim Riggleman as manager for next season. But the Washington Nationals organization had failed to formalize it during the season.
Today, they took that necessary step, issuing a press release announcing that Riggleman will indeed return to manage the Washington Nationals for 2011. The entirety of the release is below:
The Washington Nationals today announced that field manager Jim Riggleman will return in 2011. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
In 2010 under Riggleman, the Nationals increased their win total from 59 to 69. Washington’s 10-game improvement tied for the fourth-best in MLB this season and trailed only San Diego (+15), Cincinnati (+13) and Tampa Bay (+12).
Riggleman’s third season as Nationals skipper will be his 19th as a big league manager or coach, 17th in the National League. He has managed parts of 11 Major League seasons with Washington (2009-present), Seattle (2008), Chicago-NL (1995-99) and San Diego (1992-94).
The 57 year-old Riggleman was named the Nationals’ third field manager on Nov. 12, 2009. He first assumed the helm of the Nationals as interim manager on July 14, 2009.
Riggleman grew up in nearby Rockville, MD and is a graduate of Frostburg (MD) State University and Richard Montgomery (MD) High School.
Riggleman, who took over as interim manager in July 2009, was given a two-year deal when he was made permanent manager last fall, though the Nats had a very inexpensive buy-out of Riggleman's contract this season if they wanted to go in a different direction.
There was no mention of the length of his contract at all, other than to simply say Riggleman would return for the upcoming season. The Nats essentially decided that Riggleman should be the man to lead this team in 2011, without any sort of vote of confidence that past this season he would still be the appropriate manager.
Riggleman has compiled a 624-787 record in 11 seasons as a big league manager. His career winning percentage of .442 placed him fifth worst among active managers at the start of the season and is among the worst in history of managers with more than 500 games.
According to baseball sources, Riggleman's entire staff will return in 2011, including third base coach Pat Listach, who interviewed for the manager's position with Milwaukee, but was informed that he would not get the job.