In an off-season coaching change not uncommon to minor league baseball, the Cincinnati Reds have announced that 2012 Blue Wahoos Manager Jim Riggleman will be moved to manage the Red's Triple-A team in Louisville, KY. Replacing Riggleman at Pensacola will be Delino DeShields (PHOTO), who most recently managed the Dayton Dragons (Dayton, OH) the past two years.
Bruce Baldwin, president of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, said that the coaching shuffle was part of the territory for minor league baseball, and that he was grateful for Riggleman's service and excited about DeShields' arrival.
"The Blue Wahoos are so fortunate to be partners with the Cincinnati Reds, an organization that truly takes their farm teams and player development seriously," said Baldwin. "It was great to have Jim Riggleman here for our Inaugural Season, and I appreciate the way he jumped right in and became a part of the community here," he continued.
"I'm also really excited to have Delino DeShields coming from Dayton to manage the Blue Wahoos this year. Delino has a strong track record as both a player and a coach, and as a part of the Reds organization, he understands and is committed to player development," said Baldwin, "and I'm sure our fans and supporters will enjoy having someone of his caliber here on our ball field."
DeShields just finished his second year as Dragons manager after leading the club to a franchise-record 83 wins (83-57) and a second half Eastern Division title in 2011. With the youngest team in Dragons history, the club improved dramatically over the course of the season, finishing the first half at 35-35 before posting a 48-32 record in the second half. Under DeShields, the Dragons led all of professional baseball in stolen bases in 2011.
DeShields is now in his fifth season with the Reds organization. He served as manager of the Billings Mustangs in 2010 and was the hitting coach at Billings in 2009. As a player, DeShields spent 13 years in the Major Leagues with the Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, and Chicago Cubs. He finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting with the Expos in 1990. His best season came in 1997 with the Cardinals when he batted .295 with 11 home runs, 55 stolen bases, and a league-leading 14 triples. DeShields finished in the top three in the league in stolen bases six times during his career (10 times in the top eight) and ranks among the top 50 all-time in career stolen bases with 463. He batted .290 or higher in five different seasons of his big league career.
DeShields was originally signed as a first round draft pick in 1987 (12th overall selection) by the Expos out of Seaford High School in Delaware. He was slated to play college basketball at Villanova (point guard) before selecting a career in baseball. DeShields' oldest son, Delino DeShields, Jr. was the eighth overall selection of the first round in the 2010 draft and signed with the Houston Astros.
The Reds also announced that Tony Jamarillo, Tom Brown, and Charles Leddon would remain as the Blue Wahoos' hitting coach, pitching coach, and trainer, respectively.