With the surprise resignation of Jim Riggleman this afternoon, the team is left manager-less on a day when we should be celebrating. The news of the day should be that they’ve gone over .500 after May 28th for the first time since 2005. Take a look at the front page of ESPN/MLB on the left here. A lead story by Tim Kurkjian talks about how the Nats are on the fast track to being a very good team. Jay Jaffe of ESPN Baseball Prospectus insists in an Insider article that the team isn’t a fluke. And there’s an ESPN Stats article on the keys to their recent success, next to an article simply title “Nats win again.” If I can, I’ll get into some of these superlatives tomorrow.
Instead of doing that today, though, we are stuck contemplating who will be the next manager, or at the very least, interim manager. One candidate that you will probably hear quite a bit about is third base coach Bo Porter. So let’s get into it…
Who is Bo Porter?
Bo Porter is young for a manager, at only 38 years old. He was a major league player for a brief period of time. He was an outfielder with 3 teams over 3 years, with unimpressive offensive numbers. He played, between the majors and minors, 10 total seasons in professional baseball.
This is his 5th season as a major league coach and it hasn’t been just with the Nats. He started out as a hitting coach in the minors, then was the manager for two seasons of Florida’s low-A team, before being promoted to the Marlins as their third base coach in 2007. Last season he moved to Arizona with the same role, until they fired their manager and he finished the season as their bench coach.
Porter was a finalist for the Marlins job last year, when they went with Edwin Rodriguez. The thought is that he’s a candidate for the job at the end of this year
Porter isn’t the only candidate on the team. Their bench coach is John McLaren, a grizzled veteran coach, if you want more of that sort of thing. In short, he’s spent 12 seasons as a bench coach, and managed a big league team for about one year. He was named the Mariners coach midseason of 2007, a job which he held until about the same time in 2008, when he was replaced by his bench coach… Jim Riggleman. He is 59 years old, and was a catcher in the minor leagues for 7 seasons. McLaren has alot of experience, but very little as a manager, and that experience as a manager wasn’t very successful. He probably won’t make any huge gaffes, if they’re really just looking for a guy to mind the store until the end of the season.
Randy Knorr is the manager of the Syracuse Chiefs, the Nationals’ AAA affiliate. He was, of course, a catcher and if the name sounds familiar, it should. He played 253 games in the majors as a backup on Toronto, Houston, Florida, Texas and… Montreal, from 1991-2001. He started out as the Potomac Nationals coach in 2006, and moved up to replace Wetteland as the bullpen coach for the MLB club later than year. He went back to the P-Nats in 2007, and he lead the team to a championship in 2008. He was the Nats bullpen coach again in 2009, and has been the Chiefs manager since the beginning of 2010. Interesting factoid: he was born in California but got his Canadian citizenship in 2004.
And if you’re not sure Porter is the right guy, you could always look to… wait… who is that? What is that crazy mustachioed man doing in the dugout?