As we wait for the “official” word from the Reds new Double-A affiliate, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, on the naming of Jim Riggleman as the manager, I can completely understand this move from an organizational standpoint. Riggleman does have a fair amount of experience within baseball circles.
As Mark Sheldon eluded to in his piece about the Riggleman soon-to-be-announced hire, Riggleman has worked for Reds GM Walt Jocketty in the past. When Walt was the GM for the Cardinals, Riggleman was the Minor League field coordinator. But I think could be a little more to this.
I’m not trying to start any rumors (I’m really not), but this move is, as I stated, interesting. Why is that?
Well…I’ve made mention many times about the “campaign” to get Dusty Baker out of town. This hire could be a means for an exit. Baker is in the last year of a two-year deal. That deal was awarded to him (well, it was signed anyway) in October 2010. If Dusty had not signed the extension, last season could have spelled his final season at the helm of the Reds.
Most are familiar of the circumstances that occurred when Riggleman was in charge of the Washington Nationals. He was wanting a contract extension. The Nats weren’t so easy to give in to perceived demands from their skipper for a new deal. In short, no extension was delivered and Riggleman left the Nats as they were playing possibly the organization’s best baseball since the move to DC. It’s a move that was projected to haunt him. Apparently not as Jocketty felt otherwise or I do not believe this hire is made. There must be a level of comfort and confidence Walt has in Riggleman.
And that could lead to taking over the Reds…on at least an interim basis should the Reds struggle in 2012. While I really don’t like that thought process, it’s one that should be considered. If the Reds do not play well for, say, the first couple months of 2012, does the plug get pulled on Dusty? If it does, who’s there to carry on as the skipper? Is there another manager already within your organization that has any MLB experience? It does now.
And I know there will those that bring up Riggleman walking away from the Nats. It should be. I’m not in any way saying nor do I even want to imply that Riggleman would be a long term answer. It would be only in the short term for me.
Honestly, I hope I’m making a mountain out of a molehill with this. I’d much rather see the Reds win, but you got to have your bases covered even if it’s only for a few months.