As was reported earlier today on MLB.com, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and current manager Davey Johnson have had preliminary conversations about Johnson’s potential return to his managerial post for next season.
Johnson has guided the Nats to a 133-102 record since taking over in the middle of the 2011 season for Jim Riggleman after his abrupt retirement. He is under contract with the Nationals for 2013, but is only slated for a role as a consultant. Rizzo, however, would like to see Johnson come back and continue to manage. According to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, Rizzo was effusive in his praise of Johnson. “He gets players to play to the maximum level. He has done everything these players want to do. He commands the respect of the players. He motivates and allows them to be as good as they can be.”
Given the Nats’ unprecedented success, it should come as no surprise that Rizzo would like to have Johnson back. The main hurdle for the process, however, is Johnson’s age. He turns 70 this season, and could be looking forwards to retirement. But based on his comments to Ladson, Johnson seems to reciprocate the team’s interest in keeping him as manager. “I feel good about my situation… Those things will be addressed after the season.”
If Johnson wants to return, it is nearly certain that he will be managing the team in 2013. Given the way these Nats have been playing, the fans should be pretty happy if Davey decides not to hang ‘em up.