We learned last night that Davey Johnson is expected to be named the next manager of the Nationals, but here’s a minor twist on the story.
According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, Johnson’s contract will run through the 2013 season. Many expected Johnson to serve as a bridge to a more long-term option, but if Heyman’s report is correct, he figures to be at the helm for some pretty exciting times for the franchise. Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and 2011 first-round pick Anthony Rendon give them the chance to add three potential stars to an already interesting mix of players.
For what it’s worth, Jim Bowden tweeted early this morning that Johnson is signed through 2012 with a club option for 2013. Yes, Bowden is often incorrect, but you’d have to assume his Nats’ connections are worth something. We’ll learn all the details when the Nationals make an official announcement.
The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.
The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.
Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.