The Washington Nationals are playing their best baseball in recent years. Though many should be credited with bringing players to the team and getting them prepared to have success, a large portion of the credit is due to the efforts of manager Jim Riggleman.

Having surpassed the .500 mark and continuing to look up in the midst of a historic run with a winning percentage in recent weeks of over 90%, his was the perfect time for Jim Riggleman to be rewarded with a contract extension. The man who took over the Nationals as “interim manager” mid-season in 2009 when Manny Acta got dismissed was later promoted to full-time manager, but he never got a long-term deal.

It’s reported that Jim Riggleman had, numerous times, wanted to have a conversation about a long-term contract extension.

“If you’re going to do this job you have to be totally committed to it, and you need to feel like there’s a commitment to you. I just wanted to have a conversation”

The front office, notorious for not liking to open the wallet, didn’t want to talk to him about it.  Even after General Manager Mike Rizzo got a 5 year extension, there was still no signs of commitment to Jim Riggleman despite the obvious improvement he had fostered in these players.

Rizzo gave his reasoning for declining the contract extension conversation with Riggleman, saying he wanted to see where the season was going, how the young players were developing, and with the season not yet half over he felt this wasn’t the time because he hadn’t seen enough evidence.

So he decided to stand up for his principles. “I’m 58, I’m too old to be disrespected” (source: CBS Sports). Riggleman tendered his resignation.

“I loved it here and I’ll miss it”

While it’s commendable for a man to stick up for himself and not be disrespected, Jim Riggleman also allowed the world to label him a quitter.

The players who were under his guidance, some of them for years, have been abandoned. Their leader decided that the uncertainty and possibility of not getting a long-term deal worked out later in the season or during the off-season or at some point next year was too much disrespect for him.

It was completely short-sighted. Does he retain his principles? Sure, it allows him to say “I won’t let people disrespect me”, though there’s not a large audience of folks who understood Riggleman was being disrespected. But it doesn’t let him continue to say “I finish what I start” or “I’ll be there through thick and thin” or “you can count on me to be there when you need me”.

He also destroyed his future career in the process.

Instead of staying as the manager of the Washington Nationals, seeing where the current streak of 11 wins in 12 games could reach, seeing how high he could take this group of players, seeing where the off-season leaves him, he quits.

Had he had success with the Nationals this season, he could’ve found a job elsewhere that gave him more respect. He could’ve taken the success and leveraged it into a large contract to stay in DC.

Now the analysts are predicting that Riggleman won’t get another job managing in MLB.

This isn’t like the Red Sox, Yankees or Braves. He didn’t leave a top tier team. This is the Washington Nationals. There are very few lower tier teams he can look to for a “second chance”.

Who knows, maybe this is the right move for Jim Riggleman. Maybe he doesn’t want to continue as a manager for an MLB team. Maybe he’s ready to look for other work.

He might not have a choice. All because he was feeling disrespected.