WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson made a bold statement on Saturday. He said the infield of Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and Adam LaRoche is the best infield -- defensively -- he has ever been around, and Johnson has been around some great infields during his 50 years in professional baseball. It seems like the Nats' infield is making acrobatic plays on a regular basis.
In the early 1970s, Johnson was part of an infield that included Brooks Robinson, Mark Belanger and Boog Powell while with the Orioles. Johnson also managed a Mets team in 1986 that included Ray Knight, Rafael Santana, Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez. Those teams each won a World Series title.
"I never had an infield this talented. It's that simple," Johnson said about Nationals' infield. "I've had Hall of Famers at different positions, but as a group, I never had an infield that had four guys that could do the things that these guys could do, and that is saying a lot."
When asked about the infields that he was a part of as a player from 1961 to 1978, Johnson said, "In my playing days ... I've been around a lot of good infields. There is no question in my mind [about how the Nats' infield compares]. You can even throw in the whole package. It makes it more special when you include the offense and defensive capabilities."