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Rizzo, Johnson talk extension

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Rizzo, Johnson talk extension

PHILADELPHIA -- The issue of Davey Johnson's future status has been raised in recent days because the Nationals manager hasn't officially committed to returning in that capacity for 2013.

Make no mistake, though, there's only one person who will decide whether Johnson returns as manager next season: Johnson.

The veteran skipper is under contract to work for the Nationals through 2013 per the deal he signed last summer upon taking over for Jim Riggleman upon the latter's surprise resignation. That contract stipulates Johnson has a job as a consultant to general manager Mike Rizzo, with the option of returning to the dugout as manager.

Technically speaking, either side could decide not to select that option. But Rizzo has made it clear he wants Johnson to be his manager for as long as Johnson wants to do the job.

Rizzo affectionately calls Johnson "part of the furniture" with the Nationals, too big and vital a piece to the organization to be cast aside anytime soon.

Rizzo has always wanted Johnson to manage through at least 2013. Upon hiring him last summer, he actually tried to lock him up to a three-year deal on the spot, but Major League Baseball wouldn't allow a long-term deal without the club conducting a full managerial search that included minority candidates.

Rizzo conducted that search after the season but still wound up sticking with the man he wanted all along: Johnson.

At the time, both sides said they would address the question of 2013 after the 2012 season was complete. But the unspoken truth was this: As long as Johnson wanted to return for another season, he would return.

And to date, Johnson has given no indication he doesn't want to return.

The 69-year-old has been reinvigorated by this job, falling in love with a team and an organization that is set up to win not only this year but for years to come. He talks repeatedly about his commitment to developing young players and helping them realize their potential.

And he sees a Nationals club that -- while it has a chance to win it all this season -- should be an even stronger contender next season, with Stephen Strasburg unleashed to pitch straight through October, with Bryce Harper maturing and growing into a more experienced player and with still more prospects coming up the pipeline.

Why wouldn't Johnson want to return to that? His health is good. His team's prospects are good. He's having the time of his life.

The final details may not be worked out yet for Johnson's return as manager in 2013. But if you asked both Johnson and Rizzo to reveal how they really feel about the situation, both would undoubtedly say they committed to each other for another season a long time ago.

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Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

The Washington Nationals have signed former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, according to multiple reports. 

Wieters spent the first eight years in the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, being named to the AL All-Star team four times and winning two gold glove awards. Last season the switch-hitting catcher posted a .243 average with 17 homers and 66 RBI.  

The Nationals have been in the market for catchers all offseason after Wilson Ramos left for Tampa Bay in free agency. The team traded for former Padres catcher Derek Norris, whose role is now in question. The Nationals still have Jose Lobaton on the roster as a strong defensive backup catcher who has a proven rapport with many of the pitchers in the Nationals rotation. Wieters had been linked to the Nationals all offseason because of the team's need a the position and because of the Nationals close relationship with Wieters' agent Scott Boras. 

The only significant time that Wieters has missed due to injury in his career came in 2014-15 when he had Tommy John surgury. Prior to that surgury, however, Wieters had played in at least 130 games for four straight seasons and became a large part of the Orioles' identity. 

The 30-year-old backstop will give the Nationals lineup more depth and power. Wieters had three consecutive 20-homer seasons from 2011-13 and since 2009 when his career began, he ranks fifth among catchers in all of baseball in home runs with 117. 

Related: Nationals 2017 promotional schedule includes snow globes and fedoras

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Nationals 2017 promotional giveaways include snow globes and fedoras

Nationals 2017 promotional giveaways include snow globes and fedoras

The Washington Nationals recently released the dates of their promotional days and giveaways this season, and there are some real gems in this schedule.

Among the standard bobblehead giveaways — Daniel Murphy on April 14, Trea Turner on May 12 and Tanner Roark on June 9 — and the highly recommended Pups in the Park days — April 29, May 13, June 10, June 25, September 7 and September 30 — pick the right game and you could get a snow globe, an American flag shirt or even a fedora. Seriously.

On May 24’s game against the Mariners, the first 25,000 fans will get a Max Scherzer snow globe, which has the potential to be the coolest knickknack in your house. Or on June 14 against the Braves — oddly not closer to the Fourth of July — Budweiser is behind the first 15,000 21-and-up fans getting an American flag tank top.

But truly the most unique item on this list is the Nationals-themed fedora, which will go to the first 25,000 fans at the Brewers’ July 26 matchup. How the Nats landed on this promotional item remains a mystery, but if you like hats beyond a traditional baseball cap, this is the game to attend.

Other cool or oddball promotions include the Nats Magic 8-Ball game April 3, the Chewbacca Koozie day May 27, Bryce Harper action figure day August 29 and Oktoberfest beer stein day Sept. 29.

Here's the complete list of the team's promotional days and giveaways

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