Rizzo botches up managerial situation

With the Nationals winning eight out of 20 games under Davey Johnson, it’s safe to say something is not right. They were 40-38 before he took over, and everyone thought they would continue to improve.

That hasn’t been the case under Johnson. It’s not that they are losing, but it’s how they are losing games. They are making errors, and they are not pitching well. They are also not hitting.

To make this short, this is a bad ballclub now. How did it get to this point?

This traces back to Jim Riggleman’s resignation. The thought was the team would not take a step back with Johnson taking over. After all, the new manager has always won if one looked at his resume with the Mets, Reds and the Orioles. He had the talent to win games with the Nationals.

It hasn’t happened, and it’s hard to believe it will get better this year.

Riggleman was wrong for bailing out on his team, because of his contract situation. He should know better. With that said, Rizzo should have never put his beleaguered manager in that situation.

If he didn’t want Riggleman around, he should have fired him last season. He was well within his rights to do so after the team lost 93 games last season.

With Clint Hurdle and Eric Wedge available as managers looking for work at the time , the timing was right for Rizzo to make a managerial change, which should have happened.

It was clear Rizzo had no intention to bring Riggleman back after next year, so it makes one wonder why he wasted this year’s season by having a lame-duck manager when he could have another manager to work with for a long time.

Hurdle or Wedge would have been a perfect fit for this team. They had experience of working with teams that were rebuilding, and they also made playoff appearances.

As the first-year manager of the Pirates, Hurdle has them leading the NL Central race, which is remarkable since that team is starting over again as usual. He is winning with guys learning on the job. The Pirates are two or three years away from being a NL Central contender, but right now, they are ahead of schedule. That’s why he will win the NL Manager of the Year.

The Mariners are currently on a 12-game losing streak  in Wedge’s first year as the Mariners skipper , but let’s remember he  had the Mariners at .500 before the losing streak. He can only do so much with a team that can’t hit. If he had the hitters from the Nationals, he could win a lot more with Roger Bernadina, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and Mike Morse.

Either of those managers would have won with this Nationals’ roster. It doesn’t mean they would be a playoff team, but at least, the team would be making some progress.

The Nationals being 48-50 is progress for some people, and that’s fair, but a cynic can say the team can go nowhere but down, especially when the Nationals have to play more games with the Braves and the Phillies.

Rizzo now has to deal with the task of hiring a manager for a long-term. Let’s face it. Davey Johnson is not that guy at 68 years old, and it’s not like he has been an upgrade over his predecessor.

What this franchise needs is  a dynamic manager that will demand results.

The best guy would be Ozzie Guillen. He will be available if the White Sox underachieve this season, and it looks like they will miss the playoffs for the third straight year.

Yes, Guillen had his team underachieving in recent years, but sometimes, things run its course with the manager. Wedge and Hurdle went through it, and so did Johnson. It doesn’t mean any of those managers are failures.

Maybe new scenery might be the tonic for Guillen to be an effective manager. He certainly would have the talent in Washington if he was hired to manage them.

Either way, Rizzo has to get this one right next season. His next managerial choice has to be the guy Rizzo needs to stick with for the next two or three years.

What this team needs is stability, not a guy who is a short-term fix. They can’t afford to have Johnson make another mess next year.

Rizzo has to get this one correct next year after botching this one up this season.

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Tags: Davey Johnson Jim Riggleman Washington Nationals

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