Nats Add Davey Johnson to the Fold

Posted by Dave Nichols | Wednesday, November 18, 2009 | , , | 0 comments »

The Washington Nationals announced today that Davey Johnson has been hired as Senior Advisor to the General Manager.  Here's the press release: 
The Washington Nationals today named Davey Johnson Senior Advisor to the General Manager. Nationals Senior Vice President & General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

A former World Series winning player and manager, Johnson joins the Nationals after managing Team USA to a semi-finals berth in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Johnson has managed or coached five Team USA professional squads since 2005, including the 2008 Olympic team that claimed the bronze in Beijing. Johnson spent the summer of 2009 managing amateur players with the DeLand Suns of the Florida Collegiate Summer League.

Johnson skippered four big league teams—the Mets, Reds, Orioles and Dodgers—for 14 seasons, compiling a 1148-888 (.564) record. In those 14 big league seasons, Johnson’s clubs finished first or second 11 times, including five division titles, one pennant and one World Championship earned with the Mets in 1986. In 1997, Johnson was named American League Manager of the Year after guiding the Orioles to a 98-64 (.605) record. He was recently named one of 10 managers to be placed on the new Veterans Committee ballot for potential induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

As a player, Johnson hit .261 with 136 home runs and 609 RBI in 13 big league seasons during a career that included a stint in Japan. Johnson was a four-time All-Star, won three Gold Gloves, played in five post-seasons and earned a pair of World Series rings with the Orioles in 1966 and 1970. He is also the only player to have hit behind Hank Aaron and Japan’s all-time home run king, Sadaharu Oh.
While the last sentence is a bit fluffy, it still speaks to the wealth of baseball information Davey Johnson brings to the Nationals organization.  If he's going to be Mike Rizzo's trusted right-hand man, I'd have a hard time nominating anyone more qualified.

Rizzo has done an exceptional job this fall surrounding himself with top-notch assistants, and a conference call with many of those new lieutenants took place the other day with the regular media.  According to reports, each spoke to the quality of the man hiring them as one of the primary reasons they would leave jobs in other markets and come to a franchise that has lost 100-plus games two years in a row.

Hopefully, some top-notch personnel that actually play the game will feel the same way once the free agent signing period opens up.