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He didn’t tip his hand that he would like the man running the show to be him until the season’s final day, but Johnson saw the way his team played in September and knew he couldn’t leave things unfinished.

“Probably the last two or three weeks, seeing when I had more of the mixture of talent that I wanted on the ballclub and seeing how they all worked together, that was when I really thought, ‘Man, there’s so much more we can do here, and I need to be here to help see it along,’” Johnson said. “They’re such a great bunch of kids, and we haven’t even come close to the ceiling we’re going to get to. I really feel like I’m kind of their father figure. They respect me, and I’m the guy to kind of steer them along their path.”

All of Johnson’s coaches are expected to return as well, except for bench coach Pat Corrales, who will remain in the organization as an evaluator and adviser, much as he was before Johnson became the manager in June. The Nationals are not ready to name a new bench coach just yet.

“The only question I had about Davey taking over was: Did he want to do it, and was his energy level and his focus going to be there?” Rizzo said. “And even as early as during spring training of this year I saw a guy that just moved around better this year. … He had an energy about him and a bounce in his step that I thought to myself, ‘Wow, Davey’s really into it and really fired up for the season.

“He was the easy choice.”