The New York Mets hired a new bench coach this week, inking veteran manager Jim Riggleman to a deal. What can we expect from him?
The Mets remain in search of a new hitting coach.
Last season it was clear that Mickey Callaway was still learning the ropes of National League baseball, and hiring a bench coach with NL experience was a must for this offseason. The hope is that this new addition will help guide him moving forward.
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Riggleman has managed 13 MLB seasons, all but one season in the National League. His .445 career winning percentage isn’t too pretty, but that won’t affect his ability to help the Mets.
Four of Riggleman’s stints as a manager came as an interim manager halfway through a season, including this past season for the Reds. Obviously, a team that is firing their manager isn’t in a great position to succeed.
Riggleman’s first gig was with the San Diego Padres in 1992 when he took over to manage the last 12 games of the season. He was given the full-time job the next year but his team lost 101 games. Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland pitched 10 games for that team.
Riggleman spent the strike-shortened 1994 season with the Padres with very little success, however, the Chicago Cubs gave him a shot the next year to manage their team.
He was the Cubs manager for the next five seasons and made the postseason in 1998 winning the NL Wild Card. The Cubs were swept by the Braves in the NLDS.
Riggleman managed the second half of the 2008 season for the Seattle Mariners, the Washington Nationals from 2009-2011, and most of 2018 for the Reds, all teams not in any position to win.
It’s not fair to base Riggleman’s baseball knowledge on his managerial record since he spent so many years managing bad teams.
What the Mets needed in a bench coach was a right-hand man and a second set of eyes for Callaway, and someone who has lots of experience in National League baseball, and they got their man.
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It’ll be very interesting to see how quick the Mets will be to replace Mickey Callaway if 2019 doesn’t go well, especially since they have a new general manager. With a guy like Jim Riggleman who has been interim manager four times as bench coach, one might wonder whether or not Riggleman is looked at as a safety net by the Mets front office.