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Johnson will be Nats manager

Jun 24, 2011, 11:58 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Davey Johnson last managed in the majors in 2000.

Updated at 10:08 p.m.

CHICAGO — Davey Johnson, who guided the Mets to a World Series title 25 years ago and won AL Manager of the Year honors a decade later with the Orioles, will take over as manager of the Nationals for the remainder of the season.

The Nationals haven’t officially finalized the deal yet, but a club source confirmed Johnson’s pending hire by general manager Mike Rizzo, barely 24 hours after Jim Riggleman abruptly resigned following a 1-0 victory in Washington.

It wasn’t immediately clear when Johnson, 68, will start, but he’s expected to be in the dugout no later than Monday, when the Nationals open a three-game series in Anaheim.

John McLaren managed the club Friday night against the White Sox, uncertain how long he would hold that position but knowing his tenure
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  1. dj in Fl. - Jun 25, 2011 at 12:12 AM

    I hope it Davey. He will not allow Rizzo to stock his roster with non-competitive players, ie. Stairs and Brodderick, among others.Then there will be the first player that has his agent call Rizzo to complain about him. We will be able to indentify him as the player missing his backside.Davey runs a tight ship, and demands the best effort every game.

  2. JaneB - Jun 25, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    dj, I hope you are right. I just remember him presiding over the Mets WorldSerious win, and then a falling apart clubhouse. He sounds baseball smart and people…not smart. It also seems like they have had him waiting in the wings for this day for a while. I guess it just came a few months early. I hope our guys swing the bat tonight. Keeping the roll going is the best medicine there could b.

  3. Cwj - Jun 25, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    Count me in for Davey Johnson as well.Earlier on MASN today, Phil Wood said the team would likely pick a "name" manager, and it looks like FP has already endorsed him (after Rizzo joined he and Bob in the booth).I wonder if Rizzo was testing the loyalty of Bob and FP? J/K :)

  4. BinM - Jun 25, 2011 at 1:43 AM

    This is most likely to be an inside hire – McLaren is the 'straw-man', holding the position until Rizzo comes to an agreement with someone else. My best guess at the odds as of today… > Davey Johnson = 3:1. He'll have to be coaxed out of the FO, but might not take the job based on health concerns. > John McLaren = 4:1. Knows the clubhouse & roster, might be an adequate caretaker. > Bob Boone = 8:1. A possible, but a less-than-adequate choice, imo. > Trent Jewett = 12:1. Knows the players, but no MLB experience as a MGR. > Randy Knoor = 14:1. Has seen alot of the current roster, but has no MLB experience whatsoever. > Bo Porter = 15:1. Knows the current players, but lacking in system depth, knowledge, & experience. > Ray Knight = 20:1. Talks a good game, but out of touch with most of the current players, and all of the possible callups.

  5. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 25, 2011 at 1:47 AM

    Seems like a done deal to me. Eleven years out of the game kind of worries me. Don't know how plugged in he is. Whatever the outcome, I've lost a lot of respect for Rizzo during this fiasco. I can't take anything he says now as anything except what's good for Mike. But if this is a choice (which is appears) between Davey Johnson and Trent Jewett, it's nolo contendre.Just GYFNG. Score a run tonight! Please?

  6. Slidell - Jun 25, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    USA Today (via ESPN) says Davey will be named.

  7. dj in Fl. - Jun 25, 2011 at 1:54 AM

    JaneB, I think your memory serves you well. I believe the presure of almost, every year wore on him and the press.I believe it was a group of the old guys that helped him pull himself back together.He will be the next step back toward a Frank Robinson style manager. Not herer to win friends, only baseball games.

  8. Cwj - Jun 25, 2011 at 1:56 AM

    So it's pretty much official now? (My PC is acting up, can't access ESPN.com)I suppose he would take over tomorrow then, rather than after the Chicago series…

  9. sm13 - Jun 25, 2011 at 2:32 AM

    Davey Johnson is a great pick to fill out the season. This team needs a steady hand who understands player personnel. Davey knows how to win and he won't quit on the team.On another matter…Michael Morse is unstoppable!!

  10. The Great Unwashed - Jun 25, 2011 at 2:33 AM

    So is it safe to say that Rizzo picked up his option? Sorry, couldn't resist.

  11. Anonymous - Jun 25, 2011 at 2:40 AM

    So who is going to manage tomorrow when McLaren is suspended for making contact with the first base ump?

  12. Anonymous - Jun 25, 2011 at 3:57 AM

    Lost respect for Rizzo in this Riggleman fiasco; confirmed that Lerners don't deserve any and are the ultimate cheapskates when they think they can get away with. Still can't forget that after they got a taxpayer funded stadium they wanted late completion penalties since their offices weren't completely finished by the delivery date. Pathetic. It would have cost them $600,000 to pick up Riggleman's option and fire him at the end of the season if they wanted him gone. And Werth undermining Riggleman while he bats .230 and collects millions. Ha!

  13. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 25, 2011 at 4:23 AM

    Thank You God.

  14. Section 222 - Jun 25, 2011 at 5:06 AM

    Why do I keep thinking Joe Gibbs when I hear Davey Johnson?

  15. rmoore446 - Jun 25, 2011 at 5:19 AM

    This is exciting!! I am enough of a geezer that I've watched and cheered Davey Johnson as a player. In fact, just last week I discovered my long-lost certificates verifying my attendance at the Atlanta Braves home opener on April 8, 1974. Looking at BASEBALL'S FIFTY GREATEST GAMES by Bert Randolph Sugar I see that Davey was one for three with a run scored in a six to four Braves victory.Why is it considered a great game? Hank Aaron hit home run 715 to break Babe Ruth's record.

  16. FlapJacks in Olney - Jun 25, 2011 at 5:58 AM

    NatsJack. Ditto.

  17. Anonymous - Jun 25, 2011 at 7:34 AM

    I grew up a big Mets fan, so I should like this. But I don't.The Nationals need to be building for the long term. They need someone who can provide a foundation for years to come. Someone who's up to date with sabermetrics and the tremendous advances in baseball analysis. Someone with good people skills, who won't upset the Nationals' already great team chemistry.I'm concerned that Johnson fails on each of these counts. He's too old to be around for that long. I doubt he's into sabermetrics (though I could be wrong). And he seems a tough, gruff guy — who potentially could irritate players and undermine the Nats' chemistry.If the selection is clearly just for this year, I guess I won't lose too much sleep over it. But otherwise, choosing Johnson seems consistent with Rizzo's traditional, "inside the box" approach to the game. He's old school. But old school is old.

  18. Anonymous - Jun 25, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    I can't believe our turn of luck here. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade. This is going to be a wild ride. Washington is going to be the most exciting team in baseball for the second half of the season. Mark, you are going to have a lot of late nights. I can't wait to read this stuff. I have to say I am riveted by this whole thing. Personally I think Davey is the best possible candidate for the rest of the season. The other posters might be right–I'm not sure Davey's strong suit is chemistry. But from the outside, this team seems to be self-policing. I wouldn't think chemistry is their problem this year. So this team is going to complement Davey in a way no team ever has. Davey's strength is tactics and getting maximum effort out of his players. This team isn't going to keep up this streak forever. With somebody less than a Davey Johnson, they'll swoon sooner or later–although this is a great ride. But Johnson might keep this thing going. I mean, with Davey, the Nats have a real chance at closing this out and winning the wild card. Obviously that's crazy talk, but this is going to turn a lot of heads. The braves front office is probably wigging out right now. Last night's implosion in the bullpen (and kudos for coming back) would never have happened with Johnson. It never would have got that far. Remember that Marquis/Riggleman episode? Johnson had a number of similar run-ins with Scott Erickson and there was no question who was boss.I saw the one post about sabremetrics. I love the stats too, but I wouldn't get hung up on that. Sabremetrics is more about building a team than in-game tactics anyway. And I actually do think Davey is going to use the stuff that is relevant during a game. Maybe not religiously but I'm sure he's up on it. Davey's not what you're thinking. He's the real deal. If there is one person that can turn this team into a long-term winner it's Davey Johnson.And even if he isn't the team is going to be more fun to watch than it ever has. He's definitely not boring. This is NOTHING like bringing back Joe Gibbs either.

  19. Nats in Athens - Jun 25, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    In the end the greatest service that Jim Riggleman did for this club is putting all on such a spot that Davey was the only solution.I only started watching baseball in 87 so I missed what he did with the Mets and followed the O's till the Nats came to town. The only time it was any pleasure was when Davey was managing.Here is to a great second half!

  20. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Would that be Georgia or Greece (just curious)? As for Johnson, with the veteran leadership and the way this time has jelled, I'm not sure it makes all that much difference who is at the helm. That said, although I don't have any preconceived notions about how he'll manage, I do like his W-L record. GO NATS!!

  21. Nats in Athens - Jun 25, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Natsfan1a: That would be Athens Greece

  22. SonnyG10 - Jun 25, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    I'm excited about Davey Johnson becoming manager. I hope he is up to it health-wise. Davey is the reason I first started despising Peter Angelos. Peter fired Davey for some stupid reason like not schmoozing with him (I don't remember exactly). I felt then that Angelos had severly damaged the Orioles and I was right. Of course, since then I despise him for trying to keep a team from coming to Washington.

  23. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    Cool, another country heard from for the Insider.

  24. Anonymous - Jun 25, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    Davey Johnson — Good Deal!!!!3.5 Games shy of playoff berth? Allright, bring it on. This morning we breathe rarified air — and it feels good!!!

  25. Alan_A - Jun 25, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    Don't underestimate Davey Johnson's grasp of sabermetrics. Nobody talks about this much anymore, but one of the big discussion points during his first season ('84) with the Mets was that he'd installed a personal computer in his office and was using it to review player statistics, which he'd then use to make his lineup and in-game decisions. Personal computers were brand new in popular culture then (the PC had been named Time Magazine's "Machine of the Year" in December '83), and there was no frame of reference for it in baseball. People thought it was bizarre. So he was a bit ahead of the curve there. I don't know if he still is, but it'd be a mistake to think of him as just an old-school, seat-of-the-pants guy. I continue to be hopeful.

  26. Alan_A - Jun 25, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    @Jane B -To get ready for Davey, I've just picked up a copy of Jeff Pearlman's "The Bad Guys Won," about the '86 Mets. Between that and my (probably out of print) collection of NY Daily News '86 Mets coverage, I'll try to get back up to speed and see if there's any insight out there as to why the wheels eventually came off.

  27. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    Plus, I don't know about y'all but if you were going to predict my contemporary behavior based on that of 25 years ago, well, let's just say that it's a whole new ballgame now. ;-)

  28. Betsy - Jun 25, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    I'm betting this has been in the works since they hired Davey for the front office…and Riggleman finally figured it out…

  29. FlapJacks in Olney - Jun 25, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    To the few folks concerned that Johnson hasn't kept current or isn't sabermetrically inclined, you need to do some more research on the man. Can't wait to see how this plays out.

  30. A DC Wonk - Jun 25, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Anon@ 5:00 – why do you say last night's bullpen implosion would never have happened under Davey Johnson? Who in the world would have predicted that Storen souls serve up a three run homer? Etc.?

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