Johnson and the Nationals were still finalizing the deal Saturday afternoon, but Johnson had agreed to an arrangement that has him managing through the end of this season, at which point the Nationals will conduct a managerial search, Rizzo said. Johnson, uniquely, will be both a candidate for the position and part of the selection process, Rizzo said.
“Davey’s part of the furniture, put it that way,” Rizzo said on the Fox network. “He’s signed a long-term consultant contract. We’re figuring out dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on that. But he’s going to manage the team through ’11. We’re going to reevaluate after the season. Davey will be a part of the reevaluation process. . . . But Davey is going to be in the organization for a long, long time. As long as Mike Rizzo is running the organization, Davey Johnson will be part of the organization.”
Johnson, 68, has managed 14 seasons with four teams and compiled a 1,148-888 record, leading three teams to the playoffs. He last managed in 2000, with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1986, Johnson guided the New York Mets to the World Series title. In 1997, he managed the Baltimore Orioles to 98 wins and the American League East crown. After being named manager of the year, he resigned following a dispute with owner Peter Angelos.
Johnson joined the Nationals prior to the 2010 season as a senior adviser. Rizzo hired him for the experience and baseball wisdom he has gathered after more than four decades in professional baseball, including a 13-season major league career that started in 1965. At the time of the hiring, Rizzo said he looked forward to spending spring training, “sitting in a golf cart next to Davey Johnson.”
“He’s been a great sounding board for me, a great mentor in many ways for me,” Rizzo said on Fox. “He’s one of the guys with the best baseball acumen that I’ve ever been around. So we’re fortunate that he was so close and so available for us, and we’re looking for him to take this thing and hit the ground running and for us to continue to focus on baseball and play great ball.”
In his current role, Johnson spent all of spring training around the Nationals, as well as a few series each season. He has evaluated the players, and he knows many of them personally.
“He knows how to win,” utility player Jerry Hairston said. “And he’s coming into a real good situation. He knows us, too.”