Nov. 14, 2012
Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson has been named National League "Manager of the Year".
On Saturday, the team announced that Johnson will return as manAger for the 2013 season. He led the Nationals to a 98-64 record and the NL East championship. It was Washington's first division title and playoff appearance since the team moved to the District from Montreal in 2005. Their record was the best in major league baseball in 2012.
Johnson, 69, is the oldest manager in baseball. He plans to retire from the field following the 2013 season but will remain under contract as a special assistant to general manager Mike Rizzo in 2014.
Johnson beat out Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker and San Francisco's Bruce Bochy to capture the award, which is voted upon by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Johnson earned 23 of the 32 first-place votes. It marked the second time he has won manager of the year. He also won in the American League in 1997 with the Baltimore Orioles.
However, despite their outstanding record, the 2012 season was not an easy one for the Nationals. The team missed several key starters due to injuries, including Jayson Werth (broken left wrist), who missed three months, and power hitter Michael Morse (lat muscle tear), who didn't play until June. Shortstop Ian Desmond (oblique tear) missed 28 games in July and August, and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (shoulder) spent time on the disabled list.
Johnson was fortunate with the health of his starting pitchers, but he had to manage a bullpen that went without closer Drew Storen (right elbow surgery) for three months. They added replacements Brad Lidge and Henry Gonzalez, but they both proved ineffective. On top of all that, there was the Stephen Strasburg controversy which was a season-long distraction once the team announced they would shut him down in early September. But Johnson always managed to plug the right player in the right place, until he got most of his players back.
Now, Johnson joins Bryce Harper (rookie of the year) as a major award winner this year for the Nationals. First baseman Adam LaRoche won a Gold Glove for his stellar defensive play, three Nationals won Silver Sluggers for being the best offensive players at their position (Strasburg, LaRoche, Desmond ) and southpaw starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez could win the Cy Young award.