The Washington Times - October 23, 2009, 12:32AM

    So Don Mattingly is a hot candidate for the Washington Nationals managing job.
    It certainly would be a high-profile hire, and it would likely create some positive buzz.
    But I would be very suspect of handing this mess over to an inexperienced manager. This team — and organization — is just starting to dig its way out of the garbage that Jim Bowden left behind. An untested manager in any situation has enough to deal with, but this franchise has more problems than any other. General manager Mike Rizzo may cleaning up the mess, but it will take some time.
    Bob Melvin is also reportedly a candidate, and he goes back with Rizzo to Arizona, where Melvin had success. It’s not as sexy a pick, but may be the wiser choice.
    Bobby Valentine’s name has been thrown out there, but that’s not going to happen, for a number of reasons, most importantly that the Lerner family won’t pay the kind of money Valentine will be looking for.
    Look for some Stan Kasten-connected candidates to be considered — Terry Pendleton from Atlanta, who was a candidate the last time the team was looking for a skipper in 2006, and perhaps Ned Yost, the former Milwaukee manager who was there with Kasten on Bobby Cox’s coaching staff. Both of them could possibly be considered heirs to Cox’s job when the Braves manager retires at the end of next season.
    Meanwhile, the fact that former Nationals manager Manny Acta has been interviewed for managing jobs with two organizations — the Astros and the Indians — is more proof of the damage Bowden did to this organization. After compiling a record of 158-252 over nearly three seasons in Washington — included 26-61 this season until he was fired — Acta is still considered a top managing candidate within the industry. Several front office executives from other teams have told me he is still highly respected and the word is that whatever went wrong in Washington, it is at the feet of Bowden and the Lerner family.
    They’re right.



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