The Washington Nationals 2011 season can't exactly be called a huge success, but the young club did give fans ample reason to be hopeful about the direction the club is heading in for 2012 and beyond. The Nationals finished the season 80-81, an 11.5 improvement from their 2010 record of 69-93.
When Jim Riggleman surprised the baseball world by stepping down just shy of the halfway mark of the season with the Nats sporting a winning record (38-37), Davey Johnson was hired three games later to manage the club for the remainder of the season. That couldn't have been too easy of an environment to walk into, but Johnson kept the ship afloat as Washington played close to .500 baseball under his direction (40-43). According to Mike Rizzo, Washington's general manager, Johnson more than earned the opportunity to remain as manager of the club in 2012:
"We feel pretty confident that Davey's in place," Rizzo said. "He's going to be here for years to come. He's a terrific manager. I can see him managing this team through 2012. We haven't made any announcements yet, because we haven't done our full due diligence, but those announcements will come probably soon after the World Series."
We'll see if there is actually any more 'due diligence' to do, or if Rizzo and the Nationals are appropriately waiting until after the World Series to conclude before making any formal announcement, but all signs point towards the 68-year old returning for at least one more year of duty for the improving Nationals organization.