Johnson joins Nationals front office

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The Washington Nationals offseason-long quest to burnish their front office is complete, by general manager Mike Rizzos estimation, and it got possibly its most high-profile addition on Wednesday.

The Nationals named Davey Johnson, veteran of four major-league managerial jobs and a stint with the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, senior advisor to the general manager. The move, which had been rumored for a few days, gives the Nationals yet another veteran presence in Rizzo’s remade front office.

Johnson isn’t sure exactly what his role will be yet — though it will likely take advantage of his experience doing everything from running major-league teams to working with rookie-league players. But he will be another resource among the veteran additions to Washingtons front office this fall.

“Davey makes me a smarter GM,” Rizzo said. “His knowledge on the field and talent evaluator is invaluable to us. He’s a deep thinker, and done every aspect you can do in the game. Just to be around a person with his database of knowledge makes me that much better.”

Johnson, who was named the American League manager of the year with the Baltimore Orioles in 1997, had been working off-and-on with the Nationals for the last several years. He managed Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals’ top pitching prospect, in the 2008 Olympics, and said the organizations potential, as well as the areas allure, drew him to the job.

“All my kids were really born in that area,” Johnson said. “I like challenges. I think its big challenge. I’d like to see the Nationals rise to the top of a tough division. Anything I can do, I’m all for.”

Johnson most recently managed the Los Angeles Dodgers in the major leagues, compiling a 163-161 record in the 1999 and 2000 seasons.

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