Following yesterday's loss to the (70-72) LA Dodgers, the Washington Nationals are now (65-76) on the season, having dropped four of six on the current homestand, which wraps up this weekend with three games against the Houston Astros, who are (48-95) overall so far this year, and (2-1) against the Nats. The Nationals have won just three of their last 15 games, falling from two games under .500 on August 22nd, to eleven games under entering action tonight, and they're now (25-38) under Davey Johson, who took over a (40-38) team on June 27th at the end of a streak of thirteen wins in fifteen games which raised their record from 28-36 on June 22nd to two games over .500 after three games with John McLaren at the helm following Jim Riggleman's resignation.
Riggleman, who took over for Manny Acta on the Nats' bench 87 games into the '09 season, led Washington to a 33-42 record over the final 75 games of 2009 and was brought back for the 2010 campaign, during which the Nationals were 69-93, improving ten games over their 59-103 record the previous year. Riggleman was brought back in 2011 too, with Nats' GM Mike Rizzo's endorsement, but felt he didn't figure in the franchise's plans for the future, so he resigned abruptly, opening the door for Davey Johnson's return to the majors after 15 years managing outside of MLB and most-recently working as a consultant with Washington.
Johnson signed a three-year consulting contract when he officially assumed the manager's role, with the understanding that he'd be a candidate for the job following the season when the Nationals would conduct a thorough search to find a new manager, with Johnson himself in the running for the job. D.C. GM Mike Rizzo reiterated, in a column today by ESPN.com's Jayson Stark, that he, "... still plans to interview other managerial candidates this offseason before determining whether Johnson will return as the manager or in some other role," but the Nats' general manager says he's happy with what he's seen from the 68-year-old skipper thus far.
Rizzo "raves" about the job Johnson's done according to ESPN.com's Mr. Stark, and is quoted in the article saying, "'Davey's not only a terrific tactician, but he's even a better teacher before games. He's been a great fit, on and off the field.'"
In the "Around the Majors" section of an early August article by SI.com's Jon Heyman, Mr. Heyman wrote that, "The Nationals' clear intention all along has been to have Davey Johnson manage the next two seasons, according to sources," and though his contract labeled Johnson, "... officially, a consultant for 2012 and '13, " the SI.com reporter was hearing that, "... word is, he can have the managing job if he wants it. The Nationals need to conduct at least a semi-search before giving him the job officially, as is required by MLB. But everyone suspects the job will be his."
"'He knows the game,'" the Nationals' GM was quoted stating in the official release on Johnson signing three-year consulting contract. "'He knows our players,'" Rizzo continued, "'he knows our fans, he knows the Washington, DC area, and he knows exactly what we need to be doing to build the Nationals into a contender."' Is there any doubt in your mind about Johnson returning to Washington in 2012?