Davey Johnson says he wants to keep Nationals’ staff intact

MIAMI - After the Nationals’ season ends on Wednesday, one of their first orders of business will be to figure out who is managing the team in 2012. It seems likely that Davey Johnson will return as manager; he said on Monday he’d want some input into trades and free agent decisions, but he’s had a fair amount of that already, and he hinted again that he’s leaning toward coming back.

“I love where we’re at in the development stage of some of these young players,” Johnson said. “The other thing is, my wife seems to enjoy getting back on the road again. She likes to travel, more than I do.”

Assuming Johnson is back, he could have a few decisions to make about his coaching staff, which currently includes members brought on during the regimes of Johnson’s last two predecessors. Bullpen coach Jim Lett is a longtime friend of former manager Jim Riggleman (though he was also in the Reds’ organization while Johnson was managing there in the 1990s), and pitching coach Steve McCatty and hitting coach Rick Eckstein started their jobs during Manny Acta’s tenure.

And then there’s third base coach Bo Porter, whose future is up in the air for a different set of reasons. Porter interviewed on Monday for the Marlins’ managerial job, which is officially open after Jack McKeon announced on Monday he won’t return for 2012. Porter, the Marlins’ former third base coach, also interviewed with them after last season, and will likely get an interview with the Nationals, too. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has been linked to the Marlins job, but Porter’s stock is on the rise around baseball.

“(His interview) went well,” Johnson said. “But I hope we don’t lose him. We talk a lot about baseball, not just after or before (the games), but we talk during the games. He’s getting to know my philosophy.”

Asked about the staff as a whole, though, Johnson said the group works well together, and pushed for it staying intact.

“All of them are good baseball people,” Johnson said. “I think it’s a great staff. I think they’d be well-advised to keep them.”