The last time the Washington Nationals were in the market for a field manager, they settled on Former Expos' and Mets' third base coach Manny Acta after an exhaustive search, signing the 37-year-old first-time skipper to a, "...two-year deal with two one-year club options," as MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported in a November 14, 2006 article entitled, "Nationals turn to Acta, naturally", which was published 19 days after the '06 World Series ended on October 27th with the St. Louis Cardinals' fourth win in five games against Detroit's Tigers. Acta's Mets had been knocked out in the seventh game of the NLCS with St. Louis on October 19th, and just a day later, on October 20, 2006, the Nationals contacted Mets' GM Omar Minaya to ask for permission to interview Acta.
In the weeks leading up to Acta's selection as the Nationals' Manager, Washington had expressed interest (at least according to published reports) in several candidates for the job, including Joe Girardi, Lou Piniella, Terry Pendleton, Cecil Cooper, Dusty Baker, Trent Jewett, Tony Pena, John Russell and Joey Cora, amongst others, until Manny Acta separated himself from the pack and claimed his first major league managing gig.
Former DC GM Jim Bowden was behind the Acta selection, but this time around, Bowden's replacement, DC GM Mike Rizzo is running the search for the Nationals' third full-time Field Manager. Mr. Rizzo, whose Front Office hirings are the biggest story to come out of DC so far this offseason, told MLB.com's Bill Ladson today, as quoted in an article entitled, "Nats to commence manager search soon", that, "...the search for a new manager will be in full swing soon but that the skipper may not be named until the postseason is over." Mr. Rizzo doesn't provide the names of any candidates, (did you think he actually would?) but he does elborate on exactly where the Nationals currently stand in the search:
"We are [getting ready] to make phone calls, cutting down a long list into a smaller list and discussing with specific people about the managerial job," Rizzo said. "Like I said in the past, we have a terrific in-house candidate in Jim Riggleman, who has as good a chance as anybody to become the manager for the Washington Nationals. The search is going to begin a little more seriously in the very near future."
The only candidate Mr. Ladson adds to the list is Chip Hale, though he brings up former D-Backs' skipper Bob Melvin, Bobby Valentine and St. Louis' pitching coach Dave Duncan.... ?'s For the DC Faithful: Does the fact that Rizzo clearly states that the, "...skipper may not be named until the postseason is over," give something away? Do you consider Jim Riggleman a "terrific in-house candidate"? Or are you looking for another new "voice"?