Several people inside the Nationals organization expect Johnson to return to the dugout next season, and no Nationals folks I’ve talked with have given the slightest hint that it will not be Johnson. Johnson has said he wants the job and believes he is “the best candidate.”
General Manager Mike Rizzo has remained mum on the topic, declining multiple requests for comment since the season ended. Since it’s ultimately his decision, nothing is official. But he clearly feels comfortable with Johnson, having said Johnson is “part of the furniture” in the Nationals’ organization.
Major League Baseball asks its teams to not make announcements once the day of Game 1 of the World Series arrives, and of course that day is tomorrow. The Nationals could ask Commissioner Bud Selig for permission to make an announcement on a World Series off day, either Friday or Tuesday.
So the Nationals will likely have to wait to make the decision official until after the World Series ends, which could take more than a week. There doesn’t seem to be one overriding reason why the Nationals have waited to make the call with Johnson. Rizzo has attended to other matters, including touring potential spring training sites, visiting the Instructional League and meeting with his scouts in Florida.
Johnson, who will turn 69 in January, became the Nationals’ manager in late June, switching from a front-office consulting position to the dugout following Jim Riggleman’s sudden resignation. The Nationals gave Johnson a three-year contract that guaranteed he would become a front-office assistant if the Nationals did not bring him back as the manager for the 2012 season.