Johnson wants to manage Nationals in '12
Veteran skipper steered club to third-place finish in NL East
MIAMI -- Davey Johnson made it known on Wednesday afternoon that he would like to continue as manager of the Nationals in 2012.
Johnson wants to come back as the field general because he feels he is the best candidate for the job and likes the direction the team is going in. He also feels there won't be a lot of question marks regarding the club entering Spring Training.
Under Johnson, the Nationals will finish in third place in the National League East, the highest since the team moved to the Washington after the 2004 season. Johnson became the manager of the Nationals on June 26, three days after Jim Riggleman resigned. The team is 39-43 with Johnson at the helm entering Wednesday's action against the Marlins.
"When I start something, I would like to finish it," Johnson said. "We haven't finished anything. One of my goals coming in here is to finish ahead of the Mets. That was one of my goals. But my goal as a manager is to win the division and contending. And I didn't have that opportunity this year.
"I would like to have the opportunity to have that opportunity. Yeah, I would love to come back as the manager. I signed on as the interim manager with an extension, [as a consultant]. I like the direction the club has been taking. Coming into 2012, there will be very few question marks. Competition may be for one or two jobs. When that happens, you have a chance to contend. That's a realistic assessment. That's why this job is attractive to me."
Another factor that Johnson wants is to have a say on personnel matters. The Nationals had an organizational meeting on Tuesday, and Johnson was able to voice his opinions on next season.
"As an advisor -- and I will be an advisor when this game ends -- I want what's best for this organization and what's best for this team," Johnson said. "In my opinion, what's best for this team is to have me manage, that's what I'm going to say. Now that I've seen it play out, it's a challenge that I wouldn't mind having."
Before they can sign Johnson to an extension as a manager, the Nationals have to interview other managerial candidates. It's already known that Randy Knorr, Bo Porter and Trent Jewett are in-house candidates. It's not known who outside candidates would be.
Rizzo declined to give a timetable on when a manager would be named.
"I love Davey," general manager Mike Rizzo said recently. "He is going to be back next year in some capacity. He is either going to be the manager of the ballclub or have a say on who is the manager of the ballclub.
"I anticipate the process to be much quicker. We already identified the candidates. We are going to talk to them."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.