WASHINGTON -- Davey Johnson was named National League Manager of the Year as voted on by the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday.
It marked the second time Johnson won the award. He won the American League Manager of the Year Award in 1997 as a member of the Orioles. Johnson also is the second member of the Nationals to win an offseason award this week. On Monday, outfielder Bryce Harper was named the NL Rookie of the Year.
It was last Spring Training when Johnson told a reporter he should be dismissed as manager of the Nationals if they didn't finish the season in first place. Johnson's job was never in jeopardy, as the team won its first division title since moving to Washington after the 2004 season. The Nats finished with the best record in baseball, going 98-64.
But finishing in first place doesn't tell the whole story about Johnson. He has instilled confidence in his players, and it affects their attitude. Ian Desmond, for example, had the best year of his career. It was Johnson who put in a new hitting philosophy: Stop going to the opposite field all the time and hit the ball where it is pitched.
According to reliever Drew Storen, Johnson is more than just an X's and O's manager. He loves to joke with the players.
"He is really connected to us," Storen said in September. "He gets where we are coming from, and I think he does a great job putting people in positions to succeed. He tries to stay out of our way and let us play to our potential. That's one thing that he does really well.
"He is not afraid to cut it up with you, just like you would with a teammate. That's pretty awesome. That's why we respond to him."
Pointing out that he has unfinished business after watching his team lose to the Cardinals in the NL Division Series, Johnson recently signed an extension to manage the Nationals in 2013. It will mark his last year as a manager. He will then become a team consultant in '14.