Riggleman as a manager

DMZ · June 19, 2008 at 5:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

There’s not a whole lot out there on Riggleman. He managed the Padres from 1992-1994, taking over for Greg Riddoch for the last few weeks of the 92 season, and never got to 1995. His team stunk.

Then in 1995-99, he was with the Cubs, where he’s generally known as being a pretty straight by-the-book manager. He’s seen this kind of collapse, too — the 98 team won 90, and the 99 team lost 95. And then he got fired. He’s 55, he’s been in different coaching positions for ages. There’s not a lot more than that.

It’ll be interesting — from everything we know, if he’s a pretty standard-issue manager, it’ll be a huge improvement in terms of consistent lineups, bullpen usage, and so on, but that would also require him to sort through this pretty horrible 25-man roster quickly, realize Raul needs to be platooned, all while ill-equipped to swap out players: there just aren’t ready replacements hanging around AAA right now for some of the team’s problems.

It’ll be interesting. I’ll certainly be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt — I’ve been thinking about how we as fans follow managers, and that’s a whole other story, but this seeing what he can do with the team is certainly going to be something worth watching for in this lost season.


75 Responses to “Riggleman as a manager”

  1. pygmalion on June 20th, 2008 9:50 am

    Anyone see that the M’s are the first team in Major league history to lose more than 100 games with a payroll over 100 million.

    Geoff Baker made much of this a few weeks ago in a scathing blog post on the state of the Mariners.

    Riggleman’s job is to prevent this from happening; we’ll see if he can do it.

  2. Carson on June 20th, 2008 10:00 am

    In Baker’s piece today:

    “Clearly, he’d been giving it a lot of thought,” Armstrong said of Pelekoudas. “He presented his reasons to Howard Lincoln and myself and after we talked about it for a while, we agreed with him.”

    So, a couple questions here.

    1) What might have been Pelekoudas’ reasons that convinced them? Is there any known track record of Pelekoudas to show that he recognized just how bad some of McLaren’s managerial decisions were, and pointed them out? Or, would it be more of something like “We’re awful. We need a fresh start.”

    2) Does this make any of you more inclined to be happy with Pelekoudas being retained full time? I suppose it would depend on your answer to #1.

  3. Jeff Nye on June 20th, 2008 10:03 am

    I’m fine with giving Pelekoudas the rest of the year to see what he can do, personally. But he should be on a really short leash that should get yanked immediately if he starts doing stupid things.

    But really, you’re not going to get to interview most of the good candidates during the season anyway, so you’re just filling the seat until the offseason.

    As far as firing McLaren goes, I’d have to say that Pelekoudas must have seen how much he was actively hurting the team’s chances to win (which is tough for a manager to do, in general) but the public statements aren’t going to come right out and say that, so we hear that they just needed “a new voice” instead.

    One thing that I think people in general (so not addressing anyone in specific) need to work on is not taking what Mariners officials (or really, anyone who represents a large business) say to the media as if it were the 100% unvarnished truth. There’s ALWAYS going to be some amount of spin.

  4. eddie on June 20th, 2008 10:04 am

    The Mariners were going for a manager who has proven he can put a team on a pace for 90 losses. A ten game improvement from their current pace for 100 losses which I think any M’s fan, at this point, would take.

    You’d think that they are bound to get better this year, that the stress on both McLaren and Bavasi was also felt by the team and now that there are absolutely no expectations and no place to go but up, they will play looser and better.

  5. KaminaAyato on June 20th, 2008 10:15 am

    I don’t understand why we’re having an in-depth discussion about Riggleman. As mentioned before, isn’t it standard protocol to promote a bench coach for the interim and then perform a search later? Realistically, I don’t think Riggleman has a shot at becoming the next manager – the M’s are showing they want to appear to clean house, and keeping him flies in the face of that.

    As for the speculation regarding a Japanese mananger in the US, I’m cheering for Hillman. I hope he’s able to bring the Royals up into relevance (I’d just like to see the Japanese-style of baseball succeed here – kinda biased). But you’re not going to see Bobby V come back to the states. He’s absolutely loved as the Marines manager and probably wouldn’t trade it in for anything. Considering where his team plays, perhaps Marty Brown of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp would be an option. It’s a reach, considering his team hasn’t improved that much (although they are hovering at .500), but if we’re going along the lines of gaijin managers in NPB, he could be an option. Considering it’s the Carp, bringing them over .500 would kinda be like Hillman doing that with the Royals.

  6. msb on June 20th, 2008 10:46 am

    wow. managerial flashbacks galore this week.

    First Manuel, then Riggleman– now the Jays have tossed Gibbons & his staff, and brought Cito Gaston back as manager.

  7. Hobo on June 20th, 2008 10:49 am

    I find it ironic in his first act as Interim GM Lee Pelekoudas canned the man that he personally brought back to the team (John McLaren). I wonder how long it will take Bob Fontaine to go back to California?

    Unfortunately I think Mac is better suited to be the XO than the Skipper. I wonder if Alan Trammell will be changing jobs next season?

    Jim Riggleman started managing in the big leagues 16 years ago. I would certainly hope he has learned some things over the years. While he hasn’t managed in the AL until now he has certainly been identified as a fan of the long ball, so I don’t think his NL history handicaps his ability to run an AL team dugout.

    Maybe we can just throw them all out? Lincoln (for Chris Larson), Armstrong (for anybody…but why not Reggie Fils-Aime?), Pelekoudas (for any metrics-conscious executive), and Riggleman (is Dan Rohn still managing the Giants’ AAA club?)?

    Hey, we can all (pipe) dream, right?

  8. Kazinski on June 20th, 2008 10:51 am


  9. pygmalion on June 20th, 2008 11:03 am

    Cito Gaston

    This week’s sign that the Apocalypse is upon us.

  10. smb on June 20th, 2008 11:09 am

    Gaston! That’s hilarious. I remember seeing him get tossed in (I think) the first inning of a game in the Kingdome back in the day. One of the first crystal clear M’s game memories I have. My first ejection, too, so definitely a worthy memory.


    We have an in-depth discussion of everything Mariners-related. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re not exactly distracted by competitive Mariners baseball at the moment, so a new manager is gonna generate at least a little discussion, if for nothing more than the question of whether or not there’s a shred of hope we get a sane lineup card before the season is done.

  11. KaminaAyato on June 20th, 2008 11:37 am


    I’ll give you that point. I guess looking for a relatively sane lineup card (given the players we have) is something positive to look for this year. For me though, keeping myself sane is being able to look past anything short-term (i.e. things that only affect this year) and looking for long-term moves/solutions. I just can’t see Riggleman as a long-term solution.

  12. scott19 on June 20th, 2008 11:51 am

    Riggleman was probably hired because he has a career winning percentage of .438.

    Which is still better than McLaren’s was this season, though that’s not saying a whole hell of a lot.

  13. John in L.A. on June 20th, 2008 11:55 am

    “Clearly, he’d been giving it a lot of thought,” Armstrong said of Pelekoudas. “He presented his reasons to Howard Lincoln and myself and after we talked about it for a while, we agreed with him.”

    I know that in crazy news cycles like this minutia can get over-analyzed to death… but this statement by Armstrong strikes me as interesting.

    He basically just threw Pelekoudas under the bus for the firing of Mac. He didn’t completely disavow responsibility, but he did put the burden on an underling. It makes them look a little more human and Lee a little more mercenary. That may play here, but in the larger media view, Armstong’s statement seems a little self-serving.

    Maybe his job IS on the line finally.

    It’s interesting. Usually that sort of thing is protected a little.

  14. don52656 on June 20th, 2008 12:07 pm

    I also will be interested to see the lineup today, but after looking at the current roster against LHP’s, Riggleman doesn’t really have much to consider. As much as I hate to say it, Bloomquist probably is a better option in CF than Reed against LHP’s, which doesn’t give Riggleman an option with Ibanez, as the team only carries 4 outfielders these days.

    Clement will probably be on the bench tonight as well, but it will be interesting to see if Johjima or Burke is the choice. Burke has the better record against LHP and Bedard is pitching, so I’m guessing it’s Burke.

    Riggleman is definitely handicapped with the “talent” he has to work with. We’ll see if he can make lemonade out of the lemons he has available. Unfortunately, the roster in Tacoma doesn’t appear to offer much hope, although I’m interested to see how Saunders does there now that he’s been promoted to AAA. Looks like we’ll be seeing him in September…

  15. Beniitec on June 20th, 2008 12:14 pm

    Larry Stone has chimed in this morning about McLaren’s news conference… It’s on Baker’s Blog. He also says that the M’s have been “en masse” working out on the field since 2:30…

  16. don52656 on June 20th, 2008 12:15 pm

    Well, I’m stupid. For some reason, I thought Campillo was a LHP. So, tonight’s lineup will be real interesting, as Clement and Reed should be in it. I’ll be interested to see who the DH is and who’s playing 1B.

  17. msb on June 20th, 2008 12:21 pm

    IIRC, there are a string of right-handers, so Clement was expected to get a number of starts at catcher once he came back up.

  18. smb on June 20th, 2008 12:49 pm

    Well we are definitely on the same page then. We just scrutinize him because he’s on our plate now…but you seem to have some knowledge about the Japanese league (unlike me), so if we get another manager thread anytime soon, I hope you will continue to chime in!

  19. Benne on June 20th, 2008 12:53 pm

    Well, I’m stupid. For some reason, I thought Campillo was a LHP. So, tonight’s lineup will be real interesting, as Clement and Reed should be in it. I’ll be interested to see who the DH is and who’s playing 1B.

    The game is in Atlanta, so there’s no DH. My prediction (or preference) for the lineup:

    Ichiro–RF L
    Lopez–2B R
    Ibanez–LF L
    Beltre–3B R
    Reed–CF L
    Betancourt–SS R
    Sexson–1B R
    Burke–C R (Bedard Day)

  20. SequimRealEstate on June 20th, 2008 1:10 pm

    The following is a quote from John Mclaren A little divided, pitchers against hitters,” McLaren said Friday morning from Arizona, one day after the Mariners replaced him with bench coach Jim Riggleman. Seattle Times reported.
    Looks like that maybe an area Jim R will have to work on.

  21. Jeff Nye on June 20th, 2008 1:11 pm

    I’d be surprised if Burke as Bedard’s personal catcher continues; McLaren said that that was over, and it’s not likely that it’ll suddenly come back with Riggleman.

  22. MattThompson on June 20th, 2008 1:25 pm

    Burke–C R (Bedard Day)

    I don’t know if Riggleman will give Bedard his personal catcher, but Mac did say the ‘combinations’ at catcher were over. Hopefully we’ll see Clement catching and hitting fifth, with Reed seventh or eighth. Should be interesting to see who’s in at catcher.

  23. don52656 on June 20th, 2008 1:30 pm

    I suspect that Clement will be starting tonight at C. I will be interested to see who is batting 2nd tonight, as Lopez is probably the expected choice but he has the lowest lifetime OPS against RHP of the probable starters. I’d consider this lineup (lifetime OPS against RHP):

    Ichiro RF L (.796)
    Reed CF L (.727)
    Beltre 3B R (.782)
    Ibanez LF L (.849)
    Clement C L (.775)
    Sexson 1B R (.844)
    Lopez 2B R (.669)
    Betancourt SS R (.690)
    Bedard P L (.200)

    This lineup sacrifices the L-R-L-R sequence that McLaren was so fond of, but I frankly don’t see how using that sequence works in our favor, given that the right-handed batters are so much worse than the lefties against RHP. There’s no way Riggleman is batting Lopez 7th, but if he reads stats, he ought to consider it.

    Putting Lopez/Betancourt/pitcher together puts all of the low OBP batters in a row. I think that is a plus….

    I also think Ibanez would benefit from having Clement behind him instead of a right-handed batter.

  24. Benne on June 20th, 2008 2:11 pm

    I’d be surprised if Burke as Bedard’s personal catcher continues; McLaren said that that was over, and it’s not likely that it’ll suddenly come back with Riggleman.

    With that in mind, then it should be Clement tonight, and I like the idea of batting him behind Raul and Beltre.

  25. JerBear on June 20th, 2008 2:19 pm

    FWIW, Riggleman is quoted on the M’s site as saying he doesn’t have any “massive changes” planned.

    “We have a lot of good players, but it just hasn’t clicked… Making a lot of changes would indicate I didn’t agree with what John was doing and I did agree with it.”

    I’m hoping that doesn’t apply to things like, say, batting Vidro third and all…

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