CHICAGO – While no deal has been finalized, all indications Friday continued to suggest Davey Johnson will become the fifth manager of the Washington Nationals within days. Johnson would replace current interim manager John McLaren, who will manage the Nationals for “days, not weeks” after suddenly taking over the following the resignation of Jim Riggleman, General Manager Mike Rizzo said.
Rizzo confirmed the Nationals have spoken with Johnson, currently a Nationals senior advisor and the 1997 American League Manager of the Year. Johnson, 68, has said in the past he did not want to manage again. But he has already discussed the opportunity with Rizzo, a clear sign of his interest to return to managing.
“He would enjoy this challenge,” Rizzo said. “Otherwise, he wouldn’t talk about. He’d just say, ‘No.’ ”
The manager that replaces McLaren will manage for the remainder of 2011, but “we’ll keep our options open” for the seasons beyond, Rizzo said.
Rizzo said the Nationals have also discussed the vacancy with other candidates, including some on the Nationals’ current coaching staff. At this point, though, Johnson appears to be the favorite to become the Nationals’ manager before the weekend ends.