In a shocking development, Jim Riggleman has resigned as the manager of the Nationals.
General manager Mike Rizzo said that Riggleman was unhappy with the pace of contract extension negotiations and told him that unless a deal was reached, he would resign after today's game. The Nats beat the Mariners 1-0 to sweep their series, but Riggleman held fast to his ultimatum and Rizzo accepted his resignation postgame.
"It's just the way the ballclub wants to do business. ... Maybe I'll never get an opportunity, but I'll never do it on a one-year deal again," Riggleman told reporters in the Nationals' clubhouse.
Rizzo said a new manager will be named by Monday. He did not know who would serve as interim manager of the Nats during their interleague series in Chicago against the White Sox this weekend.
"Very disappointing to the players, fanbase, city and myself," Rizzo said.
Rizzo added that while the Nationals have discussed picking up Riggleman's option, they felt the time was not right. Riggleman was 140-172 as the Nationals' manager, and ended his tenure with a three-game winning streak and 11 victories in his last 12 games.
That streak pushed Washington's record to 38-37, the first time since their inaugural 2005 season that the Nationals have been above .500.
Riggleman was in the last year of a two-year contract with a club option for 2012. He was chosen by the Nationals as the permanent manager on Nov. 12, 2009 after taking over as interim manager for the fired Manny Acta on July 14, 2009.
Check back for more details as they become available.
Updated at 5:04 p.m.: In a surreal scene, Riggleman led reporters into the middle of the clubhouse, where there was still music blaring in the wake of the team's 11th win in 12 games, to talk about why he wouldn't be continuing as manager.
He said he had asked Rizzo several times to have a conversation about his future with the team, and said Rizzo told him he wasn't ready to have that conversation. If Rizzo had been willing to have that conversation, Riggleman said he likely would have stayed.
The two men had talked casually about Riggleman's contract status in the past, but it had never gotten more serious than that. Riggleman got a two-year deal from the Nationals in 2009 with an option for 2012, but the team hadn't decided whether to pick up that option yet, essentially putting him in limbo.
"I didn't feel like I should continue on with such a short leash, where every little hill and valley is life and death in the game," Riggleman said. "The game's not fun that way. I just wanted to have a conversation when we got to Chicago about it, and Mike said he's not ready to have that conversation. I respect his decision, and I said, 'Well, I've got to give it up, then. I'm obviously not the person you all want to go down the road with.' And I get that. That's OK. But I love it here, and I'll miss it."
Asked if he was concerned about the terms of the contract when he accepted the job in 2009, Riggleman said, "I made it very clear that, 'You know I can't say no to this, but this is a bad contract for a manager. There's no option for Jim Riggleman - it's a one-year option that the club decides on. That's not a good way to do business.' I made it very clear that I didn't like that, but you know I can't say no to it. So there I am, and two years later, I'm realizing, 'You know what? I was right. That's not a good way to do business.'"
I'll keep adding to this post, so check back for more.