Washington Nationals Hope To Build Foundation for Winning

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Washington Nationals Hope To Build Foundation for Winning
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
The Washington Nationals announced today the hiring of Jim Riggleman's 2010 field staff.
Some of the names we knew. Others? Not so much. But the new names certainly aren't new to the skipper, each having extensive experience working alongside Riggleman at various points in their careers.
Returning are Rick Eckstein (hitting coach), Steve McCatty (pitching coach), and Pat Listach (infield/third base coach).
The new hires are John McLaren (bench coach), Dan Radison (first base coach), and Jim Lett (bullpen coach).
What's apparent (and important) is that the organization allowed Riggleman the opportunity to bring in folks he was familiar and comfortable with.
Radison worked with Riggleman in Chicago and San Diego, and Eckstein in St. Louis, while Lett was with the Dodgers when Riggleman was Jim Tracy's bench coach.
And of course, Riggleman was MacLaren's bench coach in Seattle, and took over for MacLaren when he was dismissed in the 2008 midseason.
These announcements come on the heels of a busy offseason addressing the needs of the front office. General Manager Mike Rizzo has been extremely busy filling out a roster of lieutenants that will do a bulk of the legwork in rebuilding this organization, essentially, from top to bottom.
Of course, there are some pieces already in place. Ryan Zimmerman established himself as a star in 2009, and Stephen Strasburg (his recent knee injury notwithstanding) and Drew Storen are not too far from helping out the major league pitching staff.
But most of the minor league rosters are still full of sub-par draft picks, conducted when Jim Bowden was still in charge, and the upper minors are especially barren.
But Rizzo has had two drafts to start to refill the cupboards, and now he has a lot of help in that regard.
Rizzo has hired 17 full-time staff members this offseason, mostly filling empty positions. He brought in Davey Johnson as his senior advisor to be a trusted right-hand man in baseball decisions.
Rizzo also brought in valued executives, scouts, and numbers crunchers, and to a man, they all described Rizzo as the reason they left their previous organizations to come to a team that has lost 100-plus games two years running.
Hopefully, some top-notch personnel that actually play the game will feel the same way once the free agent signing period opens up.

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