The Washington Nationals announced that bench coach John McLaren will be the interim manager beginning tonight in Chicago against the White Sox, following Jim Riggleman’s resignation Thursday after the series sweep of the Seattle Mariners.
McLaren managed the Mariners in 2007 and 2008, and was replaced by Riggleman mid-season with the team mired in fourth place after a 25-47 start.
The Nationals have made it clear that they are searching for a manager to guide the club the rest of the season, making McLaren really the interim-interim manager.
One candidate who would be able to be an excellent coach and teacher, as well as be able to reach the younger players, is already on staff.
Third base coach Bo Porter, who played football and baseball at Iowa, was a major league player for the Cubs, Athletics and Rangers has been mentioned recently for the Marlins vacancy before Jack McKeon returned. Porter earlier interviewed with the Pirates and Marlins this past off season.
The Nationals’ veterans like Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, John Lannan, Matt Stairs, Ivan Rodriguez and Jerry Hairston, Jr. will be able to get through this managerial change alright. But it is the younger players – Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, Wilson Ramos and others – who will benefit from Porter as their manager.
The Nationals should be able to maintain in this level of play with Porter at the helm, their pitching and defense continuing to keep them in games and their offense contributing timely hits. Consider Porter as the manager a dry run for 2012, when two more youngsters are likely to join the roster, in Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. Signing Porter now also prevents the division counterpart Marlins from getting a chance to talk with him.