Nationals name Martinez new manager

Former Cubs, Rays bench coach signs 3-year contract with option

October 29th, 2017

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals began their managerial search looking for someone capable of taking over a talented roster and leading them to a World Series championship. They believe they have found that man, as they wrapped up their 10-day search Monday afternoon by naming Dave Martinez the seventh manager in team history.

This will be the first managerial job of Martinez's career, although he comes with decades of experience in baseball. He played for 16 seasons as a Major League outfielder and has spent the past 10 seasons as the bench coach for Joe Maddon with the Rays and Cubs. So, despite his lack of managerial experience, Martinez is highly regarded in MLB circles for his ability to foster relationships with players, to deal in analytics and for his role under Maddon, who has groomed him for a managerial job through the years.

"We are delighted to bring Dave aboard and excited about what he will bring to our clubhouse and our dugout," managing principal owner Ted Lerner wrote in a statement. "We have been very clear about our goals as an organization and we feel confident we've found the right man to help us reach them."

The Nationals felt so strongly that Martinez was the right man that they extended beyond their usual commitment to secure their top candidate. Martinez agreed to a three-year contract with an option for a fourth year, the longest contract the team has ever committed to a manager.

Martinez becomes a first-time manager after serving as the longest-tenured bench coach in Rays history. He was a part of the staff that led Tampa Bay to the American League pennant in 2008. The 53-year-old spent the past three seasons in Chicago, which included three consecutive trips to the National League Championship Series and helping the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908 last year.

That made Martinez the Nats' top choice to replace Dusty Baker, whose contract wasn't renewed after two seasons in which he finished with the highest winning percentage of any manager in team history. Washington lost in Game 5 of the NL Division Series both years under Baker, and the team made the decision to move on in hopes of finding a manager to lead them to the World Series.

That task now belongs to Martinez, who finally secures a managerial job after years of interviewing with multiple teams as a candidate, which included an interview for the Nationals' job in 2013 before the club hired Matt Williams. Washington also interviewed former Red Sox manager John Farrell and contacted the Mets about their hitting coach, Kevin Long, about the managerial opening.

They quickly focused in on Martinez, who is fluent in Spanish and considered to be well-versed in analytics.

"I am excited to bring Dave into our family," president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. "As we went through this process it became clear the type of manager we were looking for -- someone who is progressive, someone who can connect with and communicate well with our players and someone who embraces the analytical side of the game. We came away from the process feeling like there was absolutely no one better suited -- who matched up to what this organization needs right now -- than Dave."

Next season will be Martinez's 30th in professional baseball, having played 16 seasons as an outfielder and first baseman for the Cubs, Expos, Reds, Giants, White Sox, Devil Rays, Rangers, Blue Jays and Braves. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Martinez was drafted by the Cubs in the third round of the 1983 Draft and made his MLB debut three seasons later. He was a career .276 hitter in the big leagues and reached the postseason with Atlanta in 2001.