Washington Post writer Chico Harlan wrote the other day, in a post at the Nationals Journal entitled, "Riggleman's Future" about how the Washington Nationals were over (to paraphrase Mr. Harlan's list) the Bowden Era, Smileygate, the debate over Ryan Zimmerman's extension, the Manny Act Must Go Movement, and the Why Not Mike Rizzo? drama, and were now left with just one big question to be answered before moving on to 2010:
Is Interim Manager Jim Riggleman here to stay?
As Mr. Harlan wrote in that article, the Nationals have promised to once again conduct a thorough search before deciding whether or not to upgrade Mr. Riggleman from his interim status, just as they did in the rumor-filled search for a full-time GM which ended last week with the "Acting" DC GM Mike Rizzo losing the "Acting" tag.
Cue the rumors. Jim Reeves, sports writer for the Ft. Worth, Texas Star-Telegram writes in a recent article entitled, "After winning over Japan, Bobby Valentine wants a new challenge", that, "Two major league teams...have already made contact," with Valentine, who is presumed to be leaving his post with the Chibba Lotte Marines of Japan's Pacific League and is considering a return to the U.S., and according to Mr. Reeves:
"The Washington Nationals are expected to touch base soon, right after they interview another former Rangers manager, Buck Showalter."
No sources are cited for the news of the Nationals' interest, and Mr. Reeves writes that other Japanese and one Korean baseball team, the LG Twins are also interested in Mr. Valentine's services, but this isn't the first time that Mr. Valentine's name has been linked to the Washington Nationals via rumor. You might remember, back when the rumors of Manny Acta's impending departure first (prematurely) broke, SI.com's Jon Heyman wrote, in an article entitled, "Nationals could replace Acta with Valentine, pitching market thinning", that "National League sources" were telling him:
"Manny Acta appears to be on his way out as Nationals manager, and while respected ex-big league manager Jim Riggleman reportedly will be installed as the interim manager, team higher-ups also have begun internal discussions about permanent candidates. One of those candidates to replace Acta, according to National League sources, is Bobby Valentine, who is currently in his seventh season as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan."
Here we go again...
(ed. note - "Headnod to Roscoe for the link.)