Apr 16, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; A baseball rests in the pocket of a catcher
With just 35 days until the Cincinnati Reds’ pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 18, we turn our attention to the only coaching-staff change the club made over the winter. Number 35 on our countdown team is new third-base coach Jim Riggleman.
The Reds had a lot of problems in 2014, including injuries, poor production, bad middle relief, and a front office that just sat on its hands at the trade deadline. Someone had to take the fall for all the losing that ensued, and, as it turned out, that man was Steve Smith. When you “lead” the league with 28 runners being thrown out at the plate, you can probably guess that your third base coach is not doing a bang-up job, so cutting ties with Smith was not much of a shock.
Enter Riggleman, the man who famously puffed up his chest and demanded more money to continue managing the Washington Nationals a few seasons ago. The Nats happily bid adieu to Mr. R., hired Davey Johnson, and have been one of the best teams in baseball since.
Riggleman has spent the last two seasons as the Louisville Bats’ manager and sometimes third base coach, so he’s at least familiar with some of the guys on the Major League team, which made him a natural choice when the 3B job in Cincy became available in November.
With such a low bar for success, this should be one area at least where the Reds can improve in 2015.