Signs Point to Davey Johnson Returning for 2013
When Davey Johnson signed on with the Washington Nationals as a senior advisor it was with no intentions to manage the club. However, when Jim Riggleman unexpectedly resigned on June 23 General Manager Mike Rizzo asked him to take the job. Johnson signed a contract for the remainder of the 2012 season with an option for 2013.
Johnson had not managed in the major leagues since 2000 when he led the Los Angeles Dodgers. He managed the United States amateur team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and the 2008 United States Olympic team.
At the moment, all indications point to the Nationals bringing Johnson back for 2012. The organization is very happy with the job he is doing and do not seem to actively be seeking a replacement. Rizzo says that with Johnson as manager he has been able to devote more time to front office matters and less dealing with internal problems with the team.
According to Rizzo when Riggleman was managing the club there were times when the GM had to come in and talk to players about disputes with the manager. There were also times when Rizzo had to talk to the whole team. Riggleman was thought to not be a player’s manager. Many complained about his habit of spending more time in his office than in the clubhouse.
Since Johnson took over Rizzo states that he has not had to talk to the team once. They respect Johnson and listen to him. He respects them and lets them do their jobs. It is obvious that Johnson has the respect of the entire organization. They rave about his baseball knowledge and handling of players. The Nationals feel as though they have not had a manager as respected as Johnson since Frank Robinson came to town with the team from Montreal. Ironically, Johnson and Robinson played together for five years with the Baltimore Orioles winning four pennants and two World Series together.
More important for the Nats, it seems as though Johnson wants to manage in 2013. This was not the case before 2011.
When Johnson left the Dodgers he had no intentions of ever managing again. The breakup with Los Angeles was not good just as it had been in Baltimore when he resigned from that post in 1997. After managing four teams and winning a world’s championship with the Mets, Johnson was ready to close the book on that part of his life.
Since taking over the Nationals, Johnson’s interest, if not his enthusiasm, for managing has returned. Where once he would not have considered coming back for 2013 he seems to be running the club as though he will. He is now the spokesman of the team with the media, a job that Rizzo had when Riggleman was the manager. His in game decisions and lineups seem to indicate he is looking with an eye towards the future as well.
All of these are good signs for the Nationals.
Signs that Johnson will be the manager in 2013.
By: Tim Holland
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