When you have Davey Johnson as a manager it doesn’t matter who the GM is they will eventually butt heads. It was just a matter of time until this happened in Washington and make no mistake about it, Johnson will win this little battle or he won’t be around very long. If he leaves sooner than expected the Nats will find like without him is worse than making the playoffs with him as he’s done with almost every team he’s ever managed in the bigs. The Dodgers were his one exception when he had his only losing season (full season) as a skipper.
Johnson, 69, is just as feisty as ever and he knows how to substitute players, when to double switch, how to fake out the opposing manager, he wrote the book on it. So when he pulled Bryce Harper for a double switch he knew the young future star would be upset. Too bad his bench manager was late in getting to the kid and he smashed a few helmets as a result. Johnson wanted a different result but he did say he didn’t care if he was pulling Babe Ruth, he was down to his last few moves and he did what he had to do.
Now back to Rizzo, we all know about the claim that he’s getting ready to shutdown Stephen Strasburg even though the team is in the midst of a pennant race. Why? To protect his future? Yes he’s coming off of “Tommy John” surgery (2010) but there isn’t one person outside of baseball who is supporting Rizzo. Nobody. Not even John himself! John pointed out that he pitched 206 or 207 innings in his comeback year, not the 180 that the Nationals GM has dreamed up.
Johnson has been a good soldier about it until now. He knows they can’t win a championship without their ace and he’s also had to put up with extra “drama” like Rizzo looking at his watch during a recent rain delay possibly suggesting that after a certain point Strasburg wouldn’t be allowed to pitch when the rain had stopped. It prompted the very direct manager to say to his boss, “You come down and manage this team.” That statement lit up the Twitterverse like a Christmas tree.
Strasburg may only have a few starts left but something tells me that could change. Rizzo has to realize that his team may never be in this position to win again. Some teams have waited decades to be where they are and the young pitcher may never get this chance again so shutting him down would be a huge mistake.
Johnson cares about today and he wants to win now. He was the same way in the 80’s. If Rizzo wants to win he’ll back down.
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