During Spring Training, Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson said that the 2013 season would be “World Series or bust” for Washington.
Needless to say, things have been more on the “bust” end of things for the Nationals in 2013. Injuries, ineffectiveness and poor decisions, you name it, it has happened to Washington this season. Everything that could have gone wrong for Washington has gone wrong, and it is pretty safe to say Johnson had some different ideas when he dreamed of his swan-song season as a manager.
So, if Washington does not turn things around, will Johnson return? Don’t completely dismiss a return. Baseball lifers like Johnson usually take their legacy and reputations into strong consideration when it comes to retirement. Johnson is probably one of the most successful managers in baseball history, having finished no lower than third place in the division every single year he has managed, and he has basically won everywhere he has gone.
One negative that can be put on Johnson is that his teams tend to flame out, as did he in the early 2000s as a manager, along with the fact that his confidence in players is absolute to a fault. Johnson will do everything he can to keep confidence in a player and will allow them unlimited time to straighten themselves out, which sometimes, especially this season, can hurt a team dramatically.
Johnson believed, as did many, he had the opportunity to retire on top of the world, winning the World Series with a Nationals team that, on paper, had very few flaws. Well, that’s obviously not how Johnson will go out, especially if the season ended today. Now, don’t misconstrue anything, Washington can still turn things around, and plenty of teams have made late-season pushes to make the playoffs; all we need to do is look back to 2012 and see who won the AL West.
I think there is a very strong chance Johnson returns in 2014. He’s definitely the best man for the job, and nobody this side of Tony La Russa is going to walk through their door with a better resume than Johnson. The chances of a Johnson return only intensify if Washington misses the playoffs.