Wire Taps: Jim Riggleman Resigns. John McLaren On Bench, But Who's The Washington Nationals' Next Skipper?

• ESPN.com's Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN), if he had to "bet the farm" as he put it on Twitter, would, "...bet that Davey Johnson will be the next manager of the Nats." "I'd put confidence level at 85-95 percent that Davey will be summer-long manager," Mr. Olney wrote later, "Same way I felt about McKeon Sunday morning." McKeon, of course, is 80-year-old Florida skipper Jack McKeon, who replaced Edwin Rodriguez on the Marlins' bench after Rodriguez resigned his own position last week. Davey Johnson, 68, and now a Senior Advisor to D.C. GM Mike Rizzo, is the one-time Major Leaguer and manager of the Mets, Reds, Orioles and Dodgers, who last managed in Los Angeles for two seasons eleven years ago. 

Johnson, who has a .564 winning percentage (1148-888) in 14 seasons as a major league manager, worked as a consultant with Washington for former D.C. GM Jim Bowden, and when he was brought on by Rizzo, the Nationals' general manager told MLB.com's Bill Ladson, in an article entitled, "Nats name Johnson senior advisor to GM", that he was doing so because, "'Davey makes me a smarter general manager. He is a deep thinker. He has done every aspect you can do in the game. Just to be around him, it makes me all that much better.'"

Davey Johnson leading the Nats through the rest of the 2011 schedule is just a rumor. What the Nationals did announce through various sources yesterday is that Riggleman's bench coach John McLaren, (who hired Riggleman as a bench coach in Seattle, was replaced by Riggleman and signed in D.C. as Riggleman's bench coach when he too was dismissed by the Mariners and hired by the Nats, eventually replacing Manny Acta), (ed. note - "Get all that?"), will be on the bench this weekend in Chicago, with an interim Manager to be named by Monday according to the Nats' GM Mike Rizzo.

Rizzo's former boss, the aforementioned Mr. Bowden (@JimBowdenESPNXM), offered up a long-ish list of potential replacements for Riggleman on the Twitter this afternoon, but later wrote that, "Rizzo wants interim manager to know the players [and] system,which is why [Davey] Johnson, [John] McLaren, [Randy] Knorr leaders..but Valentine will be a top [candidate next year]."

"Maybe that interim will be third base coach Bo Porter, who is well-regarded within the industry," FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal wrote last night in an article entitled, "Hard to defend Riggleman's Choice", "Or maybe it will be Davey Johnson, who currently is one of Rizzo's senior advisers." SI.com's Jon Heyman too (@SI_JonHeyman) wrote on the Twitter last night that, "Rizzo LOVES davey johnson, but [Johnson] may not be inclined to do it, even if asked. Better Nats interim guesses: Mclaren, Bo Porter." Four hours later, however, the tone of what Mr. Heyman was hearing must have changed as he wrote that, "Davey Johnson is in mix for Nats interim job. he loves riggleman & is sensitive to situation. but word now is, he may well do it if asked."

Wait a minute? Did Bowden say Bobby Valentine?

In an article by MLB.com's Barry Bloom entitled, "Valentine moving on after Nats' decision", after Valentine had interviewed with the Nats before the 2010 season, the former major league manager and current MLB Network analyst was quoted as stating that he'd, "...had a great interview with Mike (Rizzo) about two weeks ago and we really hit it off," but after the meeting, Mr. Valentine expressed some surprise that he, "'...never heard anything. There has been no contact or explanations. I'm pretty sure they had Jim (Riggleman) in their back pockets the whole time."

Mike Rizzo was quoted in the article as well, explaining that he thought, "'Bobby Valentine was extremely impressive... He was very [vocal] and is baseball knowledgeable. He is an extremely bright person in general. He has great baseball acumen."

McLaren, Porter, Valentine? Davey Johhnson? While the Nationals should be basking in the glow of their three-game sweep of the Mariners, they're instead trying to explain why Jim Riggleman resigned, and attempting to quickly find a replacement for the rest of the 2011 campaign. McLaren will lead the Nats tomorrow, after that? "As you can see it's taken us a little bit by surprise," Rizzo said yesterday, "We don't have immediate plans for a successor as manager. By Monday we will have an answer and we will have somebody managing the team."

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