After deciding not to bring back Dusty Baker, the Washington Nationals have reportedly settled on Dave Martinez as their next manager.
Two division titles, but two early postseason exits, led to Dusty Baker not being retained as Washington Nationals manager. A search obviously starred immediately, and Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports has reported Chicago Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez is the choice to be the Nationals next manager.
Martinez has served as bench coach for Joe Maddon since 2008, with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cubs. He has long been a rumored candidate for a step up to a managerial spot, and Washington will provide that opportunity. An official announcement is not expected to come until after the World Series, which is typical for such things.
The Nationals go through managers quickly, as Martinez will be the franchise’s seventh manager since arriving in Washington in 2005. He’ll be the team’s fourth skipper in just the last seven seasons come Opening Day 2018.
There is the small matter of a contract agreement though. That’s not a small thing, after the move to hire Bud Black fell apart during negotiations a couple years ago and led to Baker’s hiring. But after some early reports a deal was not yet done, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post was first to report a three-year deal for Martinez.
No manager has been guaranteed more than two years under current Nationals ownership (since 2006). So three years plus an option for a fourth year with Martinez feels like a significant shift in philosophy, when more established managers Davey Johnson and Baker were not afforded that kind of investment. As a first-time manager, Martinez is also about as opposite of Baker as it gets.
The Nationals record of postseason underachievement has been mostly about the players, due in equal parts to health and general struggles on the biggest stage. A new manager may not change that, but a fresh voice that theoretically won’t be worried about his job security can’t hurt.