Nationals

Quick Links

Rizzo, Johnson talk extension

825827.png

Rizzo, Johnson talk extension

PHILADELPHIA -- The issue of Davey Johnson's future status has been raised in recent days because the Nationals manager hasn't officially committed to returning in that capacity for 2013.

Make no mistake, though, there's only one person who will decide whether Johnson returns as manager next season: Johnson.

The veteran skipper is under contract to work for the Nationals through 2013 per the deal he signed last summer upon taking over for Jim Riggleman upon the latter's surprise resignation. That contract stipulates Johnson has a job as a consultant to general manager Mike Rizzo, with the option of returning to the dugout as manager.

Technically speaking, either side could decide not to select that option. But Rizzo has made it clear he wants Johnson to be his manager for as long as Johnson wants to do the job.

Rizzo affectionately calls Johnson "part of the furniture" with the Nationals, too big and vital a piece to the organization to be cast aside anytime soon.

Rizzo has always wanted Johnson to manage through at least 2013. Upon hiring him last summer, he actually tried to lock him up to a three-year deal on the spot, but Major League Baseball wouldn't allow a long-term deal without the club conducting a full managerial search that included minority candidates.

Rizzo conducted that search after the season but still wound up sticking with the man he wanted all along: Johnson.

At the time, both sides said they would address the question of 2013 after the 2012 season was complete. But the unspoken truth was this: As long as Johnson wanted to return for another season, he would return.

And to date, Johnson has given no indication he doesn't want to return.

The 69-year-old has been reinvigorated by this job, falling in love with a team and an organization that is set up to win not only this year but for years to come. He talks repeatedly about his commitment to developing young players and helping them realize their potential.

And he sees a Nationals club that -- while it has a chance to win it all this season -- should be an even stronger contender next season, with Stephen Strasburg unleashed to pitch straight through October, with Bryce Harper maturing and growing into a more experienced player and with still more prospects coming up the pipeline.

Why wouldn't Johnson want to return to that? His health is good. His team's prospects are good. He's having the time of his life.

The final details may not be worked out yet for Johnson's return as manager in 2013. But if you asked both Johnson and Rizzo to reveal how they really feel about the situation, both would undoubtedly say they committed to each other for another season a long time ago.

Quick Links

Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

usatsi_10342243.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

On Thursday night, a Washington, D.C. pro sports team did something Washington, D.C. pro sports teams are very good at doing: fall short of making a league or championship game.

The Nationals' disastrous fifth inning against the Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series was the beginning of the end, not to mention yet another in a long line of disappointing playoff results for Washington, D.C. sports teams.

You see, Washington, D.C. is the only city with at least three major pro sports teams to not have a single one make a conference or league championship game since 2000.

To make matters worse, Washington, D.C. sports teams have now lost 16 consecutive playoff games in which a win would've advanced the team to the conference or league championship. 

Think about that for a second. Four teams. Zero conference championship appearances since 1998. 

Here's the list.

Washington, D.C. sports fans are not greedy. We can't be. We've had some very good teams recently, with the type of talent, coaching and intangibles needed to win a championship. 

TRY THIS: 20 THINGS DC SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT. YES, HAPPY.

The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team won a world championship was in 1992 when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI.  The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team even made a conference championship game was in 1998, when the Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, defeating the Sabres to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Washington, D.C. isn't allowed to have nice sports things.

Sure, we have great players and great teams, but when the playoffs roll around, all the nice things go away. We aren't privy to plucky upstarts who run the table and we aren't privy to dominant teams that make long postseason runs.

Washington, D.C. will have its day, eventually. Sure it may only be a conference championship appearance, but for us, that's fine. We don't expect world championships. We just want something to get invested in.

Early playoff exits are rarely worth the investment.

Quick Links

With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

"This is the year."

That's the motto for almost every D.C. sports fan when their team is headed for the postseason.

The Nats led a weak NL East the entire season and clinched a spot to play October baseball early into September.

RELATED: COUNTLESS ERRORS DOOM NATIONALS IN SEASON-ENDING LOSS

The team overcame the obstacle of being plagued with injuries and with pitchers like Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer having a strong bullpen to back them up, the stars were aligning for the team to go all the way.

But now with players like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy having contracts up for grabs in 2019, Nationals reporter Chelsea Janes says 2017 was really the last chance for the team to win a stress-free title.

"I think those questions you've raised like Bryce [Harper's] contract, [Daniel} Murphy may be leaving, you know Rizzo's contract's up after next year, I think those are the things they didn't have to deal with this year that made this such a free chance," Janes said on the Sports Junkies Friday.

"It was a free chance to just feel good and do it now and not have everyone say this is your absolute last chance, and next year it's their absolute last chance for a little while, I think."

"I mean they're not going to be awful in '19, but they're going to be different and I think they've sort of wasted their free pass here and there's legitimate and kind of unrelenting pressure on them next year to make it happen."

It's hard to make sense of what a team will look like one day after a devastating series loss. One thing that is fairly certain is that time is ticking for the Nats to make it happen with arguably the most talented group of players they've ever had.