Johnson expected to remain Nats manager
Announcement regarding skipper likely after World Series
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are expected to retain Davey Johnson as their manager, according to a baseball source. An announcement would be made after the World Series ends.
Johnson took over the position on an interim basis on June 26, three days after Jim Riggleman resigned. Washington went 40-43 under Johnson, finishing third in the National League East -- their highest finish since the team moved from Montreal after the 2004 season.
Teams are asked by Major League Baseball not to make major announcements during the World Series. Game 6 of the Series is scheduled for Thursday with the Texas Rangers leading, 3-2.
General manager Mike Rizzo declined to discuss the managerial search and his plans for the coaching staff in a conference call with local reporters on Wednesday.
"Davey has been in communication with the staff throughout the offseason," Rizzo said. "We have to stay away from announcing anything [because of the World Series]. After the World Series, you guys will be the first to know and we'll take it from there."
Johnson and his agent, Alan Nero, were not available for comment.
On Sept. 28, Johnson made it known that he would like to continue as manager, citing the team's direction and expressing his belief that he was the best candidate for the job. He also said he believes the team won't have many question marks entering Spring Training.
"When I start something, I would like to finish it," Johnson said at the time. "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 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."
Johnson showed that he was not afraid to demote or bench veteran players for younger talent. For example, he demoted left-hander Tom Gorzelanny to the bullpen and inserted Ross Detwiler into the rotation at one point.
Another factor for Johnson was his desire to have a say on personnel matters. The Nationals had an organizational meeting toward the end of the season, and Johnson was able to voice his opinions.
"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."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.