Jim Riggleman will manage again next season, just not in the major leagues. In his first on-field position since he suddenly resigned as Nationals manager last June, Riggleman will return to the dugout in 2012 to manage the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the Class AA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, a person close to the situation said.
Riggleman will restart his career following one of the most unusual endings to a managerial tenure in recent memory. Riggleman abruptly resigned as Nationals manager over his contract situation in June, minutes after the Nationals sealed a walk-off victory that gave them 11 wins in 12 games, their best stretch since 2005.
Over the final half of the 2011 season, Riggleman scouted the National League East for the San Francisco, who kept an offer on the table for him to continue scouting. The Giants also allowed Riggleman to look for an on-field position, which led him to the Reds.
Riggleman previously worked for Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty, when Jocketty ran the St. Louis Cardinals and Riggleman served as the team’s minor league field coordinator. The Reds had been shuffling their minor league staff, and Riggleman was open to any position that would allow to get back into a uniform, even in the minors.
The Nationals went 140-172 under Riggleman from the all-star break in 2009 to this year, an unsightly record that nevertheless included steady progress. The Nationals improved by 10 wins from 2009 to 2010, and they were 38-37 when he resigned in June.
The Nationals may build on their momentum and challenge for a playoff spot this season. Their old manager, with 11 major league seasons of experience, will be watching from the Southern League.