Spring headlines: Davey Johnson says ‘Fire me’ if Nationals miss playoffs

David Brown
Big League Stew

Baseball is back! Here at Big League Stew, we'll take a quick dash around the league each morning in an attempt to keep you updated on all the springtime storylines.

The name tag might as well say, "Hi, my name is Davey Johnson and I'm the manager of the Washington Nationals, but you can fire me if we miss the playoffs."

That's what Johnson told CSN Washington reporter Kelli Johnson (presumably no relation) in a recent video interview (via D.C. Sports Bog).

[Fantasy baseball: Ten-round mock draft]

After reporter Johnson asked manager Johnson if this season would be a disappointment if the Nats don't make the postseason, the skipper didn't hesitate:

"No question in my mind," the manager said. "You know, and they can fire me.

"Strong words," Kelli noted.

"Yeah," the manager agreed. "I mean, we should make the playoffs. There's no doubt in my mind."

Washington's franchise, which used to exist as the Montreal Expos, has not made the playoffs since 1981.

Confidence is great. Projecting confidence is even greater. Speaking your mind is ... awesome. But, boy. Lots of stuff can happen in a baseball season. Guys get hurt. Stephen Strasburg will be babied a little. Bryce Harper still has some growing up to do. Other teams might be just a tad better. Even if the Nats win 90 games, and with the assistance of another wild card, it still might not be enough to make the playoffs. And, presumably, Johnson and his team will want him to manage them in 2013, when their chances should be even better. Aw, heck, I still like that he said it.

[Related: Ozzie Guillen's one rule: Be on time for national anthem]

• Reporter Danny Knobler of CBS's Eye on Baseball says that the sooner the Nats bring up Harper — who's just 19 years old — the sooner they might get to winning. He drops the name of Al Kaline, who won a batting title when he was 20.

• More Nats news!

First-round pick Anthony Rendon is supposed to be a franchise-quality player — a middle-of-the-order hitter with a great glove at third base — but he's impressing the coaching staff even beyond their lofty expectations. He apparently won't make the team out of spring training, but he's working out well at second base in case the Nats have a need there and can't resist bringing him up.

• And more! We can't stop! Reporter Amanda Comak of the Washington Times (they're back covering baseball again!) writes that Ian Desmond is leaner and has higher personal expectations for this season.

• The right knee of Freddie Freeman popped out of place Tuesday morning, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reported, and he might miss two weeks (or more). Ouch.

"I was just doing pick drills and the knee gave out," Freeman said. "The kneecap went this way and I came back in. When I did this when I was playing in Triple-A, it took me two weeks. So that is what we are going on."

• Left-hander Matt Moore will miss another live batting practice session for the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday, reports Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times. Moore says he's feeling better since suffering a lower abdomen strain Friday, and manager Joe Maddon says the Rays are just being extra-cautious. That's what everybody always says.

[Related: Adam Scott brings huge hunting spears into Rays' clubhouse]

• Reporter Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press writes that slugger Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers continues, with confidence, to work at third base — even if few have confidence that he can handle the position.

Spring Training has arrived! Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave and engage The Stew on Facebook for your fill of Grapefruit and Cactus!

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