NL East preview

National League East preview

Updated: 2013-03-28T02:13:27Z

By PETE GRATHOFF

The Kansas City Star

Nationals manager Davey Johnson won’t be on the job in 2014.

This is not some grand prediction. Johnson announced this winter that he would retire after this season, and he wants to finish at the World Series.

A year ago, the Nationals improved by 18 games from the previous season and won the National League East title, their first championship since the franchise moved there from Montreal in 2005.

However, the season ended on a sour note as the Nationals lost in the divisional series to the Cardinals.

“We’re primed to take that next step. We made giant steps last year,” Johnson told reporters in December at the winter meetings in Nashville. “But I think we’re in a perfect position to show the world that we’re a pretty good ballclub, and we can go farther into the postseason, and I want to be a part of that.

“World Series or bust. That’s probably the slogan this year.”

No mistaking the Nationals’ goal. And a full season of Stephen Strasburg and the addition of center fielder Denard Span and closer Rafael Soriano should make them stronger.

“I think we’ve got the best team in baseball,” outfielder Jayson Werth told the Washington Post. “If that’s your mind-set going in, no one else matters, you just have to take care of yourself.”

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