“Winning the pennant. Winning the division. Winning the National League,” Johnson said of his goals during a conference call with reporters Monday, when the Nationals announced they were picking up his managerial option for next season.
Those are lofty goals for a club coming off a third-place finish in the NL East, its best showing since moving from Montreal in 2005.
But Johnson said the Nationals are ready to contend.
“I couldn’t have said that last spring. I didn’t think the talent was ready,” he said.
“But after being there and seeing the progress that some of the young players made, I think we definitely can contend. And I would be sorely disappointed if we didn’t do just that. The talent’s there.”
At 68, Johnson is a year younger than Tony La Russa, who announced his retirement Monday.
Johnson, who led the New York Mets to the 1986 championship, took over as Washington’s manager in late June, after Jim Riggleman abruptly resigned.
The Nationals went 40-43 under Johnson and finished 80-81 (one rainout wasn’t made up).
YANKEES: CC Sabathia decided to stay with New York rather than test the free-agent market, agreeing Monday to a new deal that adds $30 million to his existing contract and will pay $122 million over the next five years.
The 31-year-old left-hander had until midnight to opt out of his current agreement, which had $92 million remaining over the next four years in $23 million annual salaries.
The new deal adds a $25 million salary for 2016 and gives the Yankees a
$25 million option for 2017 with a $5 million buyout.
RED SOX: Boston interviewed Philadelphia Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin for its vacant managerial job.
The Red Sox are also scheduled to talk to Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum this week.
Mackanin is looking to replace Terry Francona, who parted ways with the team after its unprecedented September collapse.
REDS: Cincinnati exercised second baseman Brandon Phillips’ contract option for 2012, but declined a $12 million option to keep closer Francisco Cordero for one more season.
PADRES: San Diego declined its $5 million mutual option for 2012 for right-hander Aaron Harang, as well as a mutual option for infielder-outfielder Brad Hawpe and a club option for right-handed reliever Chad Qualls.
• The team hired Phil Plantier as hitting coach.