As I mused yesterday, two competing explanations for Jim Riggleman’s departure from the Nationals are (1) a fit of pique or genuine disgust which forced his sudden resignation; or (2) a calculation that, if he wasn’t going to be the Nats’ manager in 2012, he’d have a much better shot at landing a new job by leaving now than waiting out the year as a lame duck.
Only Riggleman can say which explanation — or a third one we haven’t thought of — is the correct one. But if it was a calculation about setting himself up for future employment, he may be in for a rude awakening. That is, at least if historical precedent controls.
Over at The Platoon Advantage, The Common Man runs down the experiences of several managers who, like Riggleman, just up and quit in the middle of the season for whatever reason. A few of them got jobs again, though they weren’t exactly treated as hot properties. Many of them didn’t get jobs again. The fact that, as The Common Man notes, there are only a few managerial jobs and many, many men who would like to fill them tends to mitigate the efficacy of the dramatic in-season resignation as career enhancer, you see.
Free agent right-hander Ervin Santana picked up a minor league deal with the White Sox, according to various reports Friday. Per Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com, Santana will make $4.33 million if he manages to crack the major-league roster this spring. Any official confirmation from the team is still dependent on the results of a physical.
The veteran righty hasn’t seen any action in MLB for some time. He was laid low by prolonged discomfort in his right middle finger last spring, and underwent a capsular release/debridement procedure that kept him off the mound for all but 24 2/3 innings of his 2018 campaign with the Twins. When healthy, however, he’s been as durable and productive as they come. Santana earned his second career All-Star distinction in 2017 and pitched to a 16-8 record in 33 starts with three shutouts, a 3.28 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 7.1 SO/9, and 2.9 fWAR through 211 1/3 innings.
Barring further complications with his pitching hand, the 36-year-old should be a stabilizing force for the White Sox’ rotation in 2019 — assuming he can beat out southpaw Manny Bañuelos and right-handers Jordan Stephens and Dylan Covey for a back-end role, that is. According to FanGraphs, the club’s starters ranked worst in the league in 2018 with a collective 5.07 ERA, 5.18 FIP, and 3.1 fWAR.