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Davey Johnson would have offered to walk away from Nationals if team hadn’t surged

Sep 20, 2013, 9:00 PM EDT

Davey Johnson AP

Nationals manager Davey Johnson says he would have offered to step down from his position if the team continued to fumble, rather than go on a 22-7 run since August 20. In Adam Kilgore’s column for the Washington Post, Johnson said:

“I always wanted to stay and give us a chance to win,” Johnson said. “But I’m team-first, organization-first, if we needed more information on in-house managers.”

Over the last 29 games, the Nationals’ previously-dormant offense came alive, averaging nearly 5.5 runs per game. Meanwhile, the pitching staff became even more of a stalwart, posting an aggregate 3.23 ERA in the same span of time. The Nationals enter tonight’s game against the Marlins at 82-71, five games out of the second NL Wild Card-leading Reds.

This is Johnson’s last season with the Nationals. He will shift into a role as a consultant with the team after the season, and the Nationals will begin a search for a new manager.

  1. lphboston - Sep 20, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    I like DJ, but there was no sense of urgency with this team through April and May, and it cost them the season.
    They were stuck with ALR at first, but stayed with Espinosa way too long at second. Harper injury was just one of those things, but there were moves that management could have made, and replacing DJ might have made a difference.
    Whole team was just wait too complacent, and paid the price.

    • kinggw - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:15 PM

      With all due respect, your diagnosis of the Nats couldn’t be more wrong. The Nats had plenty of problems, complacency wasnt one of them. And who has a sense of urgency in April?

      Span and Haren were awful until the 2nd half of the season. Zimmerman was injured in the early part of the season but played through it. Werth was gone all of May. Harper all of June. Despite all of that, they were only 4 games out of 1st place after the all star break.

      What killed the Nats was losing 12 in a 15 game stretch in the middle of July. Their biggest problem was timely hitting or lack thereof. Most of those losses were games where the Nats only scored a run or two. They’ve finally turned the corner, but it appears to be a case of too little, too late. Again, the Nats had plenty of problems this year. Davey Johnson wasn’t one of them.

  2. lphboston - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    You don’t think this team waited too long to get serious?
    Again, DJ is a good guy but he was way too patient with these guys.
    And the DC media was way too easy on the team until late July.

  3. jrocknstuff - Sep 21, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    Johnson wasn’t the problem. For one, the lofty expectations to live up to last year’s hype always weighed on this club. The injuries were a huge issue. The middle relief, which was a huge strength last year wasn’t there this year. Storen has never recovered. Zimmerman is a defensive liability. The injury to Ramos hurt in multiple facets of the game. There are plenty of reasons why this club didn’t make it back to the playoffs, but Davey Johnson isn’t one of them. As it stands, they have a much better chance of winning next year with him as the manager, but since that isn’t going to happen they’re going to struggle a bit.

    • NatsLady - Sep 21, 2013 at 7:18 AM

      Agree that Davey was not the problem, although, like any manager, his moves cost a few games. OTOH, his moves probably saved a few games, only those are less visible.

      Maybe it was lack of urgency, but maybe also it was a young team and EVERY other team bringing their A-game to every game in the spring. Losing to Kershaw and Greinke is one thing, but we lost to the 4-5 starters and rookie lefties A LOT. We got shut out by Freddy Garcia who was DFA two weeks later…and has resurfaced to nearly beat us again.

      The impact of injuries was pretty bad. I know every team has them, but RZimm’s shoulder was supposed to heal by June, he wasn’t himself until late in August and cost games on offense and defense. Ramos, Werth, Harper, Espinosa (injured AND underperforming), LaRoche (sick for three months)–the team Rizzo envisioned didn’t take the field until July, and didn’t start playing up to form until mid-August. Haren was terrible for 1/2 the season. Detwiler was OK, then terrible, then on the DL. Strasburg had strange meltdowns, and Jordan Zimmermann played through injury. Just about every starter in AA got a trial. The bullpen (other than Clippard) was unreliable, and mentally–a mess. The bench–essentially the same bench we had last year–TERRIBLE.

      How much of that was Davey’s fault?

      As for the idea of Davey stepping down, yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it–the next time Davey keeps his mouth shut, though, will be the first time. Won’t be sorry to see him go, but he is FAR from the worst manager in MLB, and he has his very good days.

      • NatsLady - Sep 21, 2013 at 7:20 AM

        Oh, and coaches messed too much with Denard Span… He didn’t get his form until, here it is again, mid-August.

  4. schmedley69 - Sep 21, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    The Nats were overwhelming favorites before the season, and it’s obvious that they couldn’t handle the expectations. As soon as it looked they there were done and the pressure was off, they started playing like they were supposed to. They are a talented team, but they haven’t proven that they can handle the pressure of being the top tog that everybody shoots for. That’s all on Davey Johnson. He is the one responsible for making sure that the team is mentally ready to play. This late season surge is only meaningful if they actually make the playoffs. Otherwise, it was just too little, too late. Anything less than a playoff appearance, and the Nats season is a failure.

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