Jim Riggleman Discusses Joining Mets, Callaway, NL Baseball

Mets New Bench Coach Joined CMB

Carlin, Maggie & Bart
November 27, 2018 - 2:48 pm

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By WFAN.com

The Mets haven't been very busy adding players just yet this offseason, but they got themselves a good bench coach. Ex-Reds manager Jim Riggleman will take over as bench coach and give the Mets a former manager with plenty of experience in the National League. 

"Mickey has great respect for the national league game as do I. It really is a faster game, a little more complicated game, more interesting game I feel," Riggleman told WFAN's Carlin, Maggie, and Bart on Tuesday. "Another perspective in the dugout from someone who has spent a lot of time in the National League, I think it could help. Mickey is a quick guy. He learns fast. As many years as I've been in the game, I'm still learning." 

The Mets showed interest early in Riggleman, which influenced his decision.

"This was proposed to me as a possibility right at the end of the season. At that time, I didn't know if I was going back to Cincinnati or not. It was becoming pretty apparent that I wasn't. The Mets were the first team to reach out to me. I really appreciated that."

Riggleman is going to be Mickey Callaway's right hand man. The manager and bench coach both can help each other.

"When I was managing, I got a lot of help from my bench coach. When I was a bench coach, I felt like I was helping the manager," Riggleman told CMB. "It's just an ongoing evolving situation of information going back and forth before the game, quick decisions that have to be made during the game that is based on the preparation. Sometimes two heads are better than one. Mickey will be learning from me. I'll be learning from Mickey. I know the coaches a little bit and have great respect for them."

Bart Scott asked Riggleman for a scouting report of the team he is about to coach. 

"It's a really good pitching staff, that's obvious. Dave Eiland did a great job with the pitchers," Riggleman said. "I think the ball club is probably looking to improve the bullpen a little bit even though it was overall a good pitching staff. Offensively, the club didn't finish as high as you would like. The ball club had a nice second half. Guys like McNeil, Rosario, Conforto, Nimmo, these guys came on. These guys are starting to establish themselves as major league players. With their continued growth and hopefully getting Cespedes back sooner than later, there's great potential for the club, but it's a very tough division. There's great pitching in the division. What the Phillies have done with their young starters, what the Nationals have done...I think we would take that Mets starting pitching as good as anybody." 

Riggleman said he doesn't have a prior relationship with Callaway outside of "hellos" before going up against them. He says that "those relationships develop pretty quickly."

"Trust builds quick. I have great respect for Mickey," said Riggleman. "He's a good baseball man. I'm sure he feels the same way about me. Stupid things are not going to come out of your month. The lack of trust is when ridiculous statements are being made or ridiculous actions are being taken how you run the ball game. That's not going to happen. It's going to be an all positive situation. The sharing of information will help us gain trust."

Riggleman was in the opposing dugout in 2018 when Callaway and the Mets batted out of order, which surprisingly is common.

"That has happened to everybody who has managed ball games for a long time," Riggleman said. "The people I managed against - Torre, La Russa, Bochy. Once it happens, it doesn't happen again. A big deal is made of that, but when it happens, it happened and it's not going to be the last time. I don't remember a year where it didn't happen a couple of times. It's an easy thing to have happen. I've had it happen to me. Fortunately for me, it was when I was in the minor leagues." 

You can listen to the entire interview above.