Nationals stick with Riggleman as manager

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It looks likes Bobby Valentine will be spending 2010 doing studio work at ESPN, as the Nationals confirmed Wednesday that they’re sticking with Jim Riggleman as the manager for 2010.
Riggleman took over the team on an interim basis midway through last season, and the club improved from 26-61 under Manny Acta to 33-42 the rest of the way.
The Nationals are the fourth team Riggleman has managed. Overall, he’s 555-694, good for a .444 winning percentage. Just once in seven full seasons has he managed a contender; his 1998 Cubs beat the Giants in a one-game playoff to finish 90-73 before being swept by the Braves in the NLDS.
Riggleman and Valentine appeared to be the only serious candidates for job. The Nationals wanted to interview Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly, but he wasn’t interested. Former Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin was mentioned as a possibility, but he might actually be in line to take over as the team’s bench coach.
No one has ever accused the Nationals of making inspired choices, and they certainly took the cautious route here. Valentine would have brought moments of brilliance and occasional controversy. Riggleman will do neither, and that’s just fine with a Nationals organization still trying to distance itself from the Jim Bowden circus.

Report: Momentum in talks between Mariners, Jon Jay

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that there is some momentum in talks between the Mariners and free agent outfielder Jon Jay.

Jay, 32, hit .296/.374/.375 in 433 plate appearances with the Cubs last season, which is adequate. He’s heralded more for his defense and his ability to play all three outfield spots.

The Mariners are losing center fielder Jarrod Dyson to free agency and likely don’t want to rely on Guillermo Heredia next season, hence the interest in Jay. The free agent class for center fielders is otherwise relatively weak.