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Johnson will return in 2012 [updated]

Oct 31, 2011, 3:37 PM EST

Associated Press photo
Davey Johnson has lofty expectations for the Nationals next season.

Updated at 1:40 p.m.

Davey Johnson knew for sure he wanted to return to manage the Nationals during the final weeks of September, as his club surged toward its best record in six years. And now that he knows he’ll officially be back next spring, the veteran skipper isn’t afraid to let the public know what he believes this team can accomplish in 2012.

“Winning the pennant. Winning the division. Winning the National League,” Johnson said Monday morning after the club formally announced his 2012 option has been picked up. “I couldn’t have said that last spring. I didn’t think the talent was ready. But after being there and seeing the progress that some of the young players made, I think we definitely can contend. And I would be sorely disappointed if we didn’t do just that.”

Strong words from Johnson, who will be the majors’ oldest manager next season at 69, but not out of character for someone who has always expected big things from his teams.

The owner of a .588 career winning percentage (and one World Series ring) over parts of 15 seasons with the Mets, Reds, Orioles, Dodgers and Nationals, Johnson has rarely managed a team that didn’t enter a
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  1. NatinBeantown - Oct 31, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    Glad to have Davey aboard. Would love to see Bo as the Bench Coach and Manager-in-Waiting. Does that ever happen or is the Bench Coach always a "trusted old hand"?

  2. Steve M. - Oct 31, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    A well kept secret, I don't think so. Hoping for some pleasant Rizzo surprises now!

  3. Natslifer - Oct 31, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    Didn't we finish 80-81? One game under even looks better than two…

  4. Steve M. - Oct 31, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    NatsLifer, yes. I wonder who Davey chooses as his bench coach.

  5. m20832 - Oct 31, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    Steve M. said… NatsLifer, yes. I wonder who Davey chooses as his bench coach. October 31, 2011 12:08 PM Randy Knorr?

  6. Steve M. - Oct 31, 2011 at 6:03 PM my eyes deceive me? Coco Crisp is not a Type B free agent and Carlos Beltran contractually walks and the Giants get no compensation?So the Nats can sign either and give up no draft picks.In other news, 1st off-season trade. Braves trade Derek Lowe to the Indians.

  7. SCNatsFan - Oct 31, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    Interesting tender notes… Gomes not being a B (making that trade worthless) and Sizemore being let go. Have to think the Sizemore to Nats rumors will start soon.

  8. NatsLady - Oct 31, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    So happy NOT to have a "manager" controversy. Tony La Russa retired. A hard act to follow. Now we see what Albert does. Will the Taiwan games be on I don't have the MLB network.

  9. Tcostant - Oct 31, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    I was hoping Wally Backman would get that last coaching spot; the NY Post indicated a few weeks back that Davey was talking to him about it.

  10. EarlUpdegraff - Oct 31, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    Re Wally Backman: Just my two cents, but I don't think a coach and former player who filed for bankruptcy necessarily is a good role model for a young team. As my Pappy said, if you find a nickel, put it in your hat, don't invest it with Lenny Dykstra. And if you want an "out of the box" bench coach, what about Riggleman? His problem seems to have been on the leadership front, not on game strategy, so why not give him a another chance with a team he knows and in a position that suits him? And I don't want to hear all this "he quit" stuff. It takes two to tango and Rizzo was dancin' if you get my drift.

  11. natsfan1a - Oct 31, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    Glad to have Davey back (well, he wasn't really gone, but anyway). Riggleman? Uh, no. That ship has sailed.

  12. markfd - Oct 31, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    Glad to have Davey back but sad to see Corrales leave the bench coach spot. I am very interested to see who Davey installs as his #2.

  13. baseballswami - Oct 31, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    I know I am in the minority here , but —- blech.

  14. sunderland - Oct 31, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    I'm disappointed with the pronouncement that the coaching staff (specifically Rick Eckstein)is coming back. I would have hoped we could have upgraded here.

  15. Doc - Oct 31, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    Glad to see Davey back in the dugout for next year. The Pat Corrales story was told with typical baseball obfuscation–was he kicked, or did he want to go. It seems like the former, not the latter.Bench coach–good spot for the next Nats' manager.Keep up the pace in the AFL, Oppo Boppo guy–we need another OFer, and Davey wants you sooner, not later.

  16. Tcostant - Oct 31, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    Hey EarlUpdegraff -Redemption is a great lesson for young players. Wally's past cost him the D-Backs major league manager job. He went first to an independent league and then the minors and managed well. I think it's a great story. And the guy always gave effort on the field.

  17. sjm308 - Oct 31, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    Doc: what do you know that the rest of us don't? I think its totally sane to accept that a 70 year old is tired of all the travel and took the bench job last year when Davey asked him with the understanding it would be just for the remainder of this season. Mixed feeling about Eckstein, he certainly clicked with Morse and helped him a great deal. Not sure where the youngsters stand with him, lots of free swingers in this lineup and lots of strikeouts but I am not sure I lay this on him. I just don't know what his value is but I did like that Morse paid him huge compliments.

  18. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 31, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    On a (partially) off-topic note, ESPN is running a list of possibilities to replace La Russa in St.L.Riggs is mentioned prominently. Wouldn't that just be a hoot?

  19. The Halloween Owl - Oct 31, 2011 at 10:30 PM


  20. sm13 - Oct 31, 2011 at 10:35 PM

    Glad Davey's coming back — he has a knack with young players and that makes him a great fit for the Nats. Now that the exhaustive managerial search is over, Rizzo can turn full attention to SIGNING RYAN!!!

  21. John C. - Oct 31, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    I know I'm in the minority here, but I don't see extending Ryan Zimmerman as job #1 this offseason. He's still under contract for two more seasons, and is coming off two straight injury marred seasons. Because of that, right now it's not in Zim's interest (cost of the contract will be lower because of two consecutive injury-marred seasons) or the team's interest (why place a $mega-million bet on a player being the player from 2009 rather than 2010 or 2011 over the next several years?). Let's run 2012, and the Nats and Zim will make their decisions from there. There's nothing wrong with discussing it: if Zim wants to offer a discount in exchange for security, the team may be more willing to gamble on his future. But it's not Job #1.I think that Rizzo had it exactly right: get a leadoff hitter/OF and a good starting pitcher first.

  22. FS - Nov 1, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    In other news, CC is gone.

  23. John C. - Nov 1, 2011 at 12:16 AM

    Well, Sabathia is not gone … but if he pitches in DC he'll be wearing the Yankees' road gray uniforms. At least as reported by Joel Sherman

  24. Gonat - Nov 1, 2011 at 12:55 AM

    With Rick Eckstein you now get Davey as the head of hitting strategy. I saw a positive change when Davey took over. Still helps to have better players.In unrelated news, Josh Willingham is a Type A Free Agent. Still think it was a mistake then and now you see that Willingham will turn into 2 top comp Draft Picks. My guess is he goes to Texas Rangers.

  25. Doc - Nov 1, 2011 at 2:35 AM

    @ Gonat:Correctomundo, Davey will do for the hitters, what an offensive coach does in football. The batting coach should fulfil that roll, but that's not the way it works in BB.If anything, Eck and Davey will find ways of working together to jump start the team's offense.

  26. Anonymous - Nov 1, 2011 at 2:46 AM

    Off topic, the re-design of CSN Washington is MUCH better. So much more readable! Never liked it before.





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