Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Jayson Werth and Davey Johnson dump on Jim Riggleman

File photograph of Washington Nationals Interim Manager Jim Riggleman

Washington Nationals Interim Manager Jim Riggleman scratches his head during their MLB National League baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Washington in this July 16, 2009 file photograph. Riggleman resigned unexpectedly on June 23, 2011 because the club refused to discuss a contract extension, the Major League Baseball team said. Riggleman told the team before Thursday’s 1-0 win over the Seattle Mariners that he would quit immediately after the contest unless his contract was extended for another season, according to the Nationals. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)


Bill Ladson of has a story up about how the Nationals have a new offensive identity this year. The crux of it: Davey Johnson -- unlike seemingly every broadcaster you’ve ever heard -- is NOT a fan of his hitters always trying to take the ball the other way. Rather, he wants his hitters to pull the ball if they get busted inside rather than seek out those “good piece of hitting” pats on the head.

But in saying so, he quite clearly criticized his predecessor, Jim Riggleman, for emphasizing that approach, noting that it’s not his philosophy, nor is it the philosophy of Rick Eckstein, the hitting coach under both of them:

“I think the regime before liked everybody to go the other way. We really couldn’t handle fastballs [inside]. We didn’t hit the ball where it was pitched. We have the talent to hit the ball where it was pitched, but we were a little defensive. ... We had the book on us. ... ‘Pound them in with hard stuff,’ and we weren’t able to do much.”

If it’s a bit unusual for a manager to directly reference “the regime before” in such matters, it’s extremely uncommon for a player to slag on his last manager by name like Jayson Werth does later in the article:

“Between last year and this year, it’s night and day,” Werth said. “Just the whole atmosphere in the clubhouse. You have an iconic manager that really knows how to handle this team. If we still had a guy like Riggleman as the manager, I don’t think the team is where it’s at.”


Of course, players have been super positive things about Davey Johnson for his whole career and the results speak for themselves, yet he has been run out of town a number of times. It’s almost as if he sometimes has run-ins with the front office or something.