Instead he went through nine months of drug rehabilitation after he told Major League Baseball executives, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and club president Nolan Ryan of his transgression after taking a drug test but before the results of the test were known.
Daniels and Ryan considered Washington's offer to resign but ultimately opted to treat it as a one-time failure on Washington's part.
On Wednesday, with SI.com telling the Texas organization it was going ahead with a story on the failed drug test, the Rangers called their players in for an emergency meeting at which Washington told them of what he called a one-time lapse.
When Washington, who was in tears by the end of saying his piece, was done, third baseman Michael Young was the first of about a half dozen players to stand up and voice support.
"I've got his back,'' Young told the group, according to sources. "Anybody who doesn't feel that way isn't a Texas Ranger.''
From there, virtually all of the players attended the press conference in support of their manager, including outfielder Josh Hamilton, whose lengthy history with crack cocaine use derailed his career for several years.
"He made a mistake one time. Our stories are nothing alike. He came forward. He took it like a man. I think Wash handled it well. It's a privilege to be a spokesman for him. I feel nothing less about Wash. He's learned from this.''
Washington, who prides himself on his work ethic on the field, had to shelve that part of his job for much of the day. He spent the next four hours answering questions from the media and fielding telephone calls once the story broke. Long after his team was on the field in workouts prior to a scheduled night game against Seattle down the road in Peoria, Washington was in his office talking about the incident that happened just before the All-Star break last year.
Since the Mitchell Report on the use of drugs in baseball was released in 2007, managers are tested randomly. Washington said his one-time use of cocaine happened just before the 2009 All-Star break. He got back from the break and got the word that he'd been selected to be tested.
He agonized, then called Major League Baseball and told them he'd taken cocaine and that it would probably show up in the test. The next calls were to Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and team president Nolan Ryan. He repeated his confession, then offered his resignation.
"I thought I'd thrown baseball, everything away,'' Washington said. "That's the last thing I wanted.''
Only two months earlier, Washington had signed a contract extension through 2010. He said that he'd understand if the club wanted to void the contract at the end of the year. Daniels and Ryan said they wanted Washington to stay.
"My emotions were all over the place,'' Daniels said. "I was shocked. I was disappointed. I was angry. I felt all those things that probably our fans are going to feel. We decided to work through it.
"You hope at some point some good will come out of this. It's best to move forward. I know he has our support, and the players have responded to what he said.''
Washington and the Rangers had a good year in 2009 with 87 wins and a second-place finish in the American League West, and he likely would have been immune from a 2010 downturn in the Rangers' fortunes before this happened. Now, if Texas gets off to a rotten start, Washington could be quickly sacrificed
Hamilton isn't the final authority, but he swiftly dismissed that option.
"They wouldn't be keeping him if they were going to go out and cut him the first time we have tough times,'' Hamilton said. "The players are behind him. Management is behind him. He made a mistake. We all have.''
Ryan said he was terribly disappointed, but when he asked Washington if he felt he could still manage the team, Washington was quick to say he could. And that was good enough for Ryan.
"He came forward and said he would resign,'' Ryan said. "He understood the consequences. We had a lot of discussions and a lot of soul searching on it. He stood up. We felt like he was sincere and forthright. We are very disappointed by this. We are upset we were put in this position.''
At the same time, Ryan was also forgiving.
"He's still the guy we wanted to be our manager. People make mistakes,'' Ryan said. "There is an opportunity here to learn from them.''
Under the Major League Baseball drug testing program for non-players, first-time offenders who test positive for recreational drugs are ordered to a medical evaluation conducted by doctors to determine the extent of their drug use and to devise a treatment plan.
Ryan said that Washington's assertion that this was a one-time failure on his part was supported by the MBP program's tests.
Asked to explain the circumstances of his cocaine use, Washington declined. Daniels said they'd asked that same question of their manager.
"Wash was very frank with us,'' Daniels said. "I don't think the details of what happened are something we want to get into.''
Did Washington's explanation satisfy Daniels?
"Yes,'' he said.
Washington just recently got out of a nine-month drug rehab program, during which he was tested several times a week. Having completed the test, he is now eligible to go back into the pool of those randomly tested. Washington doesn't want that. He's already called the doctor who administered his rehab program and will be asking to have the weekly testing program reinstated.
"I know I am going to have to answer questions about this and live with this for a long time,'' Washington said. "But I want the testing. I want people to know I don't have anything to hide.''
Washington, starting his fourth year as Texas manager, said he expects to hear razzing from some fans and words of support from others.
He also said he plans to accompany his wife, Gerry, to church more often.
"I feel like I've been saved,'' he said. "I really do.''