The Cubs Should Hire Jim Riggleman -- As Bench Coach

Manager Jim Riggleman of the Chicago Cubs during a spring training game against the Texas Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, Texas. Credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport

Recently resigned Washington Nationals manager Jim Riggleman is in Chicago this weekend, working a temporary gig for CSN Chicago, providing pre- and postgame commentary for the Cubs/White Sox interleague series.

It's a possible new area of work for the former major league manager, but Riggleman told the Chicago Tribune's Fred Mitchell he'd like to manage again:

"It has been a little bit of a down time for me (since then)," said Riggleman. "I certainly loved managing. I cherished the position of manager. But I came to a decision. I made my own bed and now I have to sleep in it. But it has been an unsettling time, I guess that's the only way I can say it."

But... what's really next for him?

"No plans right now after this weekend. Nothing set in stone," he said.

Since he's already in Chicago, I have an idea for him and the Cubs. Cubs manager Mike Quade has been on the hot seat much of the season for odd and strange lineup selections and in-game strategy, including use of relief pitchers. During Friday's loss to the White Sox, Quade left Randy Wells in the game in the seventh inning -- with a fairly low pitch count, in the mid 80s -- to give up what turned out to be a game-winning triple to Juan Pierre.

While a righthander, Jeff Samardzija, was warming up. Where was his available lefty, James Russell? Nowhere to be seen. Quade took the blame after the game:

"This one is on me as far as I'm concerned," he said. "(Wells) was rolling and, when the game got tied, given the bullpen situation, I backed off and really tried to push him through a matchup that wasn't very favorable, and I'm a matchup guy.

"I don't know what would have happened, but (Jeff) Samardzija was ready, and I could have gone to him."

Either way, Quade made the wrong call. And one possible reason: he doesn't have an experienced bench coach sitting next to him in the dugout, someone who's been through a lot of situations like this as a manager. Quade's bench coach is Pat Listach -- who was Riggleman's third base coach with the Nationals for the last two years. Listach has managed in the minors, but not the majors. Quade has one of the least-experienced coaching staffs in baseball. Other than Quade -- who had seven years as a major league coach with the Cubs and Athletics before being named Cubs manager last August -- the coach with the most MLB experience on Quade's staff is Rudy Jaramillo, with 15 years as a hitting coach. But Jaramillo hasn't managed, either, and his results with Cubs hitters have been... mixed, at best.

So why not hire Riggleman and move Listach back to third base coach? Listach did a good job there in DC, and current 3B coach Ivan DeJesus, who has sent many Cubs runners to their doom at the plate this year, could move back to his previous role as "special assistant". Riggleman's had this role before; he was the bench coach for the Dodgers from 2001-2004, with the Mariners in 2008 and in Washington under Manny Acta before being named manager.

It's a smart move and could help the inexperienced Quade. And by doing it this weekend, the Cubs could help Riggleman tweak his former employers. The Cubs begin a series at Washington on Monday.

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