WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Before Game 4 here Thursday, Nationals manager Davey Johnson playfully said, "If we win it all, maybe I'll pull a La Russa,'' referring to Tony La Russa's surprise retirement.
But no one seems to take seriously the possibility Johnson would retire. Least of all the people around him.
"I expect him to come back,'' National GM Mike Rizzo said about Johnson, who led the Nationals to a 98-64 record, best in baseball, this season. "It will be in his court.''
Reports suggest the two have begun talks. Johnson's managing contract reverts to a consulting deal starting in November.
"When the season's over, we'll see where we're at,'' Johnson said, adding that one thing to consider is how management feels about the situation.
That shouldn't be an issue.
"I want him to come back. He's pretty good,'' Rizzo deadpanned.
Johnson has an African vacation scheduled with his wife for next July, but there's nothing to say he couldn't move it to the winter. He postponed the Paris vacation scheduled for this summer.
Johnson seems to be in a pretty positive state as far as the spot goes. "I love baseball,'' he said. "I wouldn't have traded the Olympics experience. I wouldn't have traded the World Cup Experience. I might have traded the WBC ... that was kind of a fiasco, playing eight games in 23 days. That's not enough games.''
Are there more games in Johnson's future?
He says only great things about his experience but stopped just a bit short of committing to a return. At one point, he suggested he's likely to return "if they're comfortable'' with the set-up. At another point, he said if this were to be it, at least he'd be recalled as "the guy who helped get the team to here.''