Thom Loverro: In 2013, the Nationals should win one for Davey

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Photo - Alex Brandon/AP
Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson is a finalist for NL manager of the year. The winner will be announced Tuesday.
Alex Brandon/AP Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson is a finalist for NL manager of the year. The winner will be announced Tuesday.
Sports,MLB,Nationals,Thom Loverro

So now we know the rallying cry for the 2013 Washington Nationals: Win one for Davey.

Davey Johnson will return to manage the Nationals in 2013 and then disappear into the warm, comforting waters of consulting in the deal he reached with the Lerner family.

"Davey and I have been on board with this from the beginning back in 2011, when he took over," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "We mutually agreed to it, the one year, and we both feel good about the situation."

The precise terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the Lerners may be paying Johnson more next season than they have paid all their managers combined since they took over the franchise in 2006. If they ponied up as believed, it's a win for Rizzo.

"I love managing this ballclub in this town, and for that, I owe a debt of gratitude to the Lerner family and Mike Rizzo," Johnson said in a statement released by the club. "As everyone knows, we have some unfinished business to tend to in 2013. I have a feeling this upcoming season will be filled with many memorable moments."

Typically, managers seek multiyear contracts so they are not perceived as lame duck bosses in the clubhouse.

This one-year deal, though, will have the opposite effect: It will empower Johnson in the clubhouse. The players may have a sense of urgency to win it all next season -- and not just for Johnson. They may feel that no matter how bright the future may be and how much young talent surrounds them, their best chance to win is with Johnson.

Players are impressed by accomplishments, and Johnson's record as a manager is among the best of his generation -- Hall of Fame worthy. He likely will be the National League manager of the year. Whoever takes over for him may be liked and respected by the players if it is someone familiar like bench coach Randy Knorr. But he won't have the resume of Johnson.

These proclaimed last seasons by managers -- the kind of farewell declared by mutual agreement without acrimony -- don't typically have storybook endings.

Bobby Cox announced before the 2010 season that it would be his final year as the Atlanta Braves manager. That team managed to capture the National League wild card but lost to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants in the division series.

And Johnson's former manager in Baltimore, Earl Weaver, declared 1982 would be his last season in the Orioles' dugout (though he came back in 1985). That 1982 squad lost out on a chance for the AL East title on the last day of the season.

Johnson says he feels the 2013 season will have many memorable moments -- especially if the Nationals win one for Davey.

Examiner columnist Thom Loverro is the co-host of "The Sports Fix" from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN980 and espn980.com. Contact him at tloverro@washingtonexaminer.com.

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Thom Loverro

Sports columnist
The Washington Examiner