With the Washington Nationals at the start of a franchise-altering rebuild, now is the time to look at the headman in charge. At the end of 2020 season, Martinez signed a three-year extension $7.5 million contract to remain with the Nationals as their manager. Martinez also became the first coach to have his contract renewed since the team moved to Washington D.C.
I am sure that no one would have thought that Martinez would be the person in charge of a lot of young talent around the clubhouse, or did they? Okay, that might be the subject of another article soon.
As we all know that the wheels fell off leading into the trade deadline which prompted a sell-off of most of the high-caliber talent on the team. With an influx of new and young talent, how does Martinez lead this group after managing a veteran squad for the entire time he has been in charge?
First, let’s take a look at the past coaching history and the situations Martinez has been in. In October of 2007, Davey was hired on by the Rays to be their bench coach, working primarily on defensive positioning, baserunning, and bunting. He was their bench coach through the 2014 season and saw the Rays make five playoff appearances in his seven seasons. They lost the World Series in 2008 and lost in the ALDS in 2010, 2011, and 2013. The only time the Rays finished under .500 was in 2014, Martinez’s last season on the bench.
After manager Joe Maddon opted out of his contract with Tampa in 2014, he made the move to manage the Chicago Cubs with Davey serving as the bench coach with him once again. From 2015-2017, Martinez was a part of the Cubs organization which saw them win the 2016 World Series. In 2015 and 2017, the Cubs made it to the NLCS and lost but were never under .500 while Martinez was on the bench.
Since coming to the Washington Nationals, has won 257 games and has lost 262 games making his win lost percentage near the .500 mark with it being .495. Another interesting stat with Davey at the head of the Nationals, the team has yet to win the NL East. In 2018 and 2019, the Nationals finished second in the NL East, and in 2020 the Nationals finished in fourth and from the looks of it, the Nationals might finish in last place which hasn’t happened since 2010. Martinez has only lead the team to the playoffs once in his three years obviously in 2019.
I write all of this to give some perspective on Davey’s managerial past and how he could potentially handle certain situations, particularly the current rebuild that the Nationals are undergoing.
Now while we have yet to see how Martinez handles managing a bad team full time, we have gotten a taste of it for the past five weeks or so. What stands out about Martinez is his ability to be a team and player first manager.
He exhibits characteristics that seem to always leave a positive effect on players and fans alike. From the 2019 mantra “Go 1-0 everyday” to always having his players back during good and bad performances, it is hard to argue that the Nationals could have a better man in charge.
The addition of the young and inexperienced talent added to the squad by GM Mike Rizzo is definitely a different situation than Davey or even the Nationals have been in for a long while, but a player’s first guy is who I want to lead this team. The young players need to gain valuable experience and to have confidence built up to improve and become the players they are forecasted to be.
Over the next couple of years, he will have the ability to put his own stamp on the Washington Nationals will oversee over a lot of great pitching talent that Rizzo and Co have started to draft in Cade Cavalli, Cole Henry, and Jackson Rutledge. Martinez will also have to manage some young talent on the field such as Juan Soto and Cater Kieboom.
We definitely don’t know what the future of the club holds and how things will shake out when we are ready to compete for a championship again, but there is one thing I am sure of: Dave Martinez is the right man for the job right now.