Reasonable people may disagree about the wisdom of Jim Riggleman leaving the Nationals like he did yesterday, but I think everyone can agree that going on the radio the next day and trashing a well-respected baseball columnist by name is going to make you many friends. Certainly not in the media, but likely not with folks in the game too, most of whom respect the columnist in question and who don’t take a shine to would-be employees who get into scrapes with the press.
But that’s what Riggleman did today while on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio show with host Bruce Murray. The object of his ire being Tom Boswell of the Washington Post, who he felt tried to run him out of town and hated him for not being Earl Weaver. Or something. The bigger accusation was saying that Boswell printed “half-truths,” and didn’t get Riggleman’s side of the story on everything.
The transcript, via the DC Sports Bog, is here. Here’s the most quotable part:
“I read the papers. I read that nonsense Tom Boswell writes, and I’ll say this: Tom Boswell has tried to be the impetus behind me not being the manager here for a long time. He is a master of the half-truth. A half-truth can be more dangerous than a lie. He prints just enough nonsense that can paint a picture.
“But he’s become such a snake and such an impetus to have me out of there, [and] he’s just written so many snide remarks. That type of stuff from such a well-respected columnist throughout the country, to get away with that nonsense, I’m just bringing it to your attention, that that’s the kind of stuff that gets written that is totally false … he never tells the full story. He’s never interviewed me, he never talks to me and asks me these questions. He just writes negativity.”
Which may have more salience as a criticism if Boswell was primarily reporting news as opposed to offering opinion and insight, which he is more than capable of doing without going to Riggleman for his defense every time his name is mentioned. And hey, if the fair assessment of the state-of-the-Nats is negative — which has been the case for most of Riggleman’s tenure — is Boswell supposed to avoid negativity?
But at this point, Boswell certainly doesn’t need my defense. Riggleman, on the other hand could use a little help.
MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.
Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.
The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.
Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.
While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.
Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.
After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.
It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.
Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.
LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.
Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.