Associated Press photo
Davey Johnson has lofty expectations for the Nationals next season.
Davey Johnson knew for sure he wanted to return to manage the Nationals during the final weeks of September, as his club surged toward its best record in six years. And now that he knows he'll officially be back next spring, the veteran skipper isn't afraid to let the public know what he believes this team can accomplish in 2012.
"Winning the pennant. Winning the division. Winning the National League," Johnson said Monday morning after the club formally announced his 2012 option has been picked up. "I couldn't have said that last spring. I didn't think the talent was ready. But after being there and seeing the progress that some of the young players made, I think we definitely can contend. And I would be sorely disappointed if we didn't do just that."
Strong words from Johnson, who will be the majors' oldest manager next season at 69, but not out of character for someone who has always expected big things from his teams.
The owner of a .588 career winning percentage (and one World Series ring) over parts of 15 seasons with the Mets, Reds, Orioles, Dodgers and Nationals, Johnson has rarely managed a team that didn't enter a