WASHINGTON -- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Tuesday that he wants Davey Johnson back as manager of the team next year.
Johnson's contract expires as a manager after this season, but he has one year left on his deal as a consultant. Entering Tuesday's action, Johnson had guided the Nationals to a 93-60 record -- the best season in club history -- and the team is close to clinching its first division title. Entering Tuesday's action, the magic number to win the National League East was at five.
"I do want him back to manage next year. We've had initial discussions. We both feel comfortable where we are at in that process," Rizzo said. "I said it before, Davey is part of the furniture as long as Mike Rizzo is general manager of the team. I definitely want him back for '13."
Johnson joined the Nationals as manager on June 26, 2011, a few days after Jim Riggleman resigned. Rizzo said signing Johnson for 2012 season was one of the best moves he made for this season.
"His baseball acumen is second to none. He is as good a baseball guy as I ever been around. That's first and foremost," Rizzo said about Johnson. "Second of all, his steady hand, approach to handling players, the players overachieve for him. He gets players to play to the maximum level. He has done everything these players want to do. He commands the respect of the players. He motivates and allows them to be as good as they can be."
This past weekend, Johnson indicated that he and Rizzo have talked about next year. Johnson said he and Rizzo will not have further discussions until after the postseason.
"I've had conversations with Rizzo about that, and he had conversations with ownership," Johnson said. "I feel good about my situation. I feel good about where we are at. Those things will be addressed after the season. I think Rizzo and ownership are perfectly comfortable when deciding to have me back after this season is over. Again, I'm comfortable with that, too. Let's see what happens."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.