By KELLY EVANS
When the Washington Nationals announced the release of former manager Dusty Baker in Oct. 2017, many fans were left sad, confused, and even a few happy. Within his two year contract with the Nationals, Baker lead the team to two NL East titles with 97 wins in the 2017 season. However, that was not enough for a city who’s seen that title many times before with no following of a World Series win or even a play-offs win.
With the Washington Nationals surprising announcement of a new manager, Dave Martinez, the standards for the new skipper this season are even higher than before. With Martinez being the former bench coach for the Tampa Bay Rays and the Chicago Cubs, many fans are skeptical with this decision by Mike Rizzo and the Nationals front office. However, as the bench coach for the Cubs Martinez did lead the team to winning the world series in 2016; the same achievement the Nationals expect from him.
Martinez has 16 years of playing experience by playing in the big leagues with teams ranging from the Cubs, Montreal Expos, Rangers, Braves, and more. Over his career he maintained a Batting Average of .276 with 1,599 hits, 91 home runs, 795 runs scored, and 580 RBI’s.
While there’s little to know about Martinez management mechanisms, he does propose a very laid-back attitude which has shown success in the team in the past with Baker. For Example, during spring training he had the team rehearse their reactions to walk-off home runs.
“I tell them, just like everything else, we work really hard, I also want them to have fun,” Martinez said.
On the topic of his management qualities, general manager of the Nationals Rizzo claims Martinez is the perfect fit for the team. “He fills a lot of things we’re looking for,” Rizzo said. In a interview with 106.7 the fan with Sports Junkies.
“He’s going to bring energy and an analytical mind to the dugout,” said Rizzo. “He’s a tactician on the bench and been able to handle superstars. So I think he’ll be able to handle our great players, and I think there’s a great respect for him, and the players I’ve spoken to about it are very, very excited to have Davey at the helm and I think he’s going to be great for the entire franchise.” Rizzo also said that Martinez management and coaching with other players was a key factor in the decision for the club house.
Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon who has worked with Martinez in the past also commented on the qualities the rookie manager shares.
“He’s able to have tough conversations,” said Maddon.
With Dave Martinez announced as the new manager of the Washington Nationals, fans can be unsure of what to expect this season. However, according to Rizzo they can rely on his success coaching mechanisms of other star players and his laid back attitude to have a successful season especially in the play-offs.