Nov 9, 2012, 11:11 PM EDT
The Nationals and Davey Johnson have finalized details of a contract that ensures the veteran manager will return in the same capacity next season.
The question of Johnson’s return was never seriously in doubt, but it had yet to be formalized because of the unusual nature of his employment with the Nationals.
Lured back to the dugout in June 2011 following Jim Riggleman’s surprise resignation, Johnson was given a three-year consulting contract. Within that contract were provisions to give him the manager’s job, though those provisions had to be enacted on a year-to-year basis, with financial aspects of the deal open to negotiation.
The two sides went through a similar process last fall, with Johnson and the Nationals finally agreeing to terms on October 31. This year’s time frame actually was comparable because the Nationals’ season didn’t end until October 12 thanks to their first-ever playoff appearance.
According to MLB.com Johnson will call it a career as a manager following the conclusion of the 2013 season.
Though financial details weren’t disclosed, it’s believed the Nationals are paying Johnson far more than any of their previous managers, who all ranked among the lowest-paid in baseball at the time with salaries in the range of $500,000.
Johnson, who turns 70 in January, is the frontrunner to earn NL Manager of the Year honors next week after guiding a Nationals club that had never posted a winning season before to an MLB-best 98-64 record and its first NL East title. Since taking over for Riggleman, he owns a 138-107 record, bringing his career managerial mark over 16 seasons with five franchises to 1,286-995. Johnson’s .564 career winning percentage ranks second among all active MLB managers, behind only the Yankees’ Joe Girardi (.573 over six seasons). His six career postseason appearances rank second only to the Tigers’ Jim Leyland (seven).
Only one change is anticipated to Johnson’s coaching staff in 2013, with a replacement needed for departed third base coach Bo Porter (now manager of the Astros). The Nationals could add a new third base coach (potentially Class AAA manager Tony Beasley) or shift first base coach Trent Jewett to the other side of the diamond and replace his position.
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