Setting aside the horrendous 2009 campaign, the Nationals have made some headlines this week, naming second-half 2009 interim manager Jim Riggleman the full-time manager for 2010. Riggleman was credited for bringing an inspired sense of play to the Nationals following the firing of Manny Acta in July. While he didn't exactly turn things around completely, the Nats went 33-42 under Riggleman, as compared to 26-61 under Acta.
Riggleman is a local guy, having grown up during the age of the Washington Senators in the 1950's and 60's. The Nationals job will be Riggleman's fourth, following previous managerial stints with the Cubs, Padres, and Mariners. While speculation had both former Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine and former Yankees star Don Mattingly as potential candidates for the 2010 managerial role, Riggleman ultimately emerged as the best candidate. While the Nats certainly will not be expected to contend in 2010, Riggleman's bullpen management skills should hopefully help garner at least a few more curly W's.
3B Ryan Zimmerman added to his trophy case over the past few days, picking up his first gold glove and also winning the Silver Slugger award, given out to the best offensive player per position in each league. Zimmerman's defense was stellar throughout the season, standing in stark contrast to the horrific defense we saw across the rest of the diamond. Its good to see Zimmerman get rewarded for what was an incredibly well-rounded season both at the plate and on the field.
Now that the Nationals managerial search is over, we begin the wait to see what new pieces they can put in place for 2010. More to come.