New York Mets bench coach Jim Riggleman is ignoring the talk of him being the man in wait should Mickey Callaway get fired.
Recently hired New York Mets bench coach Jim Riggleman knows that the team struggled under Mickey Callaway last season. He also knows his managerial experience will lead people to speculate that he is the next man up should the team move on from Callaway.
However, just because he knows that doesn’t mean he’s thinking about it. He told the Associated Press that he is tuning out all that talk and that he believes the team will have a strong 2019 season.
“I certainly understand that, but I just don’t let myself go there. I really fully anticipate that the ballclub is going to pick itself up where it left off in the second half last year. I know the Mets did some really good things and got things going in the right direction.”
Fans will understandably be skeptical of this view as Riggleman, who is 726-904 in 13 seasons managing, was just hired and the team just slogged to a 77-85 finish that had few bright spots beyond Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom.
But if you remove the Mets horrible month of June, in which they went 5-21, the numbers are very different.
Excluding June, the team went 72-64, a winning percentage of 0.53. Had they held that winning percentage in June the would have finished with 86 wins, putting them four games below the Braves for the division.
While expecting the Mets to have a bounce-back year might be overly optimistic, it isn’t crazy of Riggleman to suggest that the team can be good. Riggleman isn’t worried about the perception of his prediction or how the Mets are viewed by the rest of baseball.
“I don’t think there’s going to be any issue with any perception because I think we’re going to get that out of the way real quick by the way we work in spring training and the way we get out of the blocks in April as to what our ballclub is going to be able to do.”
Riggleman might be viewed as the manager in waiting by the fanbase, but if he has his way, he’ll be the bench coach on a winning team this season.