When Davey Johnson was hired following the resignation of Jim Riggleman, it was thought to be a temporary gig. With comparisons to Jack McKeon, the story was that Johnson, already on the payroll, would be the 2011 caretaker and that this fall and winter Mike Rizzo would find the guy to lead the Nationals into a glorious future.
A funny thing happened on the way to that glorious future. Everyone realized that Davey Johnson is a pretty good manager. Tom Boswell writes:
The Nationals will go through a process after the season to analyze their options. Things can change. A better candidate might be found. But the dots have become so huge it’s impossible not to connect them. Baring an earthquake, Johnson is returning. And it’s a saga that’s gaining a “meant-to-be” quality.
Boswell has Rizzo as agreeing that, yes, they’ll look at other candidates, but quotes him saying “that’s a tough list to compile: managers who are better than Davey Johnson.”
If Davey wants to keep the job, I’m having a hard time seeing why the Nats wouldn’t want to give it to him.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.