The Washington Nationals fired Manny Acta when the team returned to DC last night after a 5-0 loss the the Houston Astros. This was somewhat a surprise, as the rumours of his departure subsided after a frenzy less than a month ago. Jim Riggleman, the bench coach, is likely to take over in the interim. While a team playing subpar needs changes, the question is why now?
Baseball has come upon the All-Star game break, so putting in new management now is not a surprise. Riggleman can tweak the lineup and/or rotation and pull players from the minors if necessary. Certainly there is no question that the Nationals are terrible and need changes. But if Acta were not here all season, would the team be in contention? This team built by former General Manager Jim Bowden, did not underachieve. It had virtually no pitching and the hitting can not make up for that. Nor can a miracle manager. There are questions as to whether Acta was major league manager material. Alas the Nationals will never know as he never got the chance to field a major league team.
So who's up? While Riggleman has experience, which might be the direction that the team will head toward, he is still below .500 in his managing career with several teams. He will probably get to run the team in interim until th end of the season. Likely the team will have to go outside the organization. This becomes a problem as the team has yet to decide on a permanent replacement for Bowden. Mike Rizzo has kept the team running, but sinking, and made transactions, but has not had a full offseason to work. There is time of course, but the Redskins had time too when Joe Gibbs 2.0 retired and look how quickly they
settled hired Jim Zorn.