John McLaren, who took over on an interim basis, will move into a roll in the front office. Johnson is expected to manage his first game on Monday.
Johnson has managed the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers in the past, but it was with the Mets where he had his most success. Johnson guided the Mets to the 1986 World Series, and from 1985 to 1990, the Mets were one of the top teams in the National League.
According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Nationals will sign Johnson to a three-year deal. This is surprising for two reasons.
First, it was assumed that Johnson would be hired just to right the ship in DC and that the Nationals would hire a younger, more long-term manager after the season ended. But Johnson is going to be in DC for the short and long term.
Second, how is Johnson only 68 years old? I grew up with the '86 Mets and I thought Johnson was and looked 50 years old back then. I would have bet anything that he was in his 80s.
With Johnson hired in DC and 80-year-old Jack McKeon hired in Florida, teams are trying to turn back the clock in hopes that these veteran managers have something left in the tank. I think it also speaks to the lack of up-and-coming managers in the minor leagues.
I can’t think of the last time we have heard of the “hot” managerial candidate in the minors. Wally Backman and Ryne Sandberg might fall into the category of “hot” managerial candidates, but even they were passed over for jobs this offseason.