WASHINGTON -- Dave Martinez has promised to be creative. He has looked at different lineup combinations, different ways to utilize player roles and perhaps just a different way of doing things as a whole from the dugout in Washington.Yes, Martinez will be a first-time manager and the Nationals' sixth skipper
WASHINGTON -- Dave Martinez has promised to be creative. He has looked at different lineup combinations, different ways to utilize player roles and perhaps just a different way of doing things as a whole from the dugout in Washington.
Yes, Martinez will be a first-time manager and the Nationals' sixth skipper in the past decade. However, the team does not believe inexperience will be his issue because of his qualifications: a 16-year playing career and 10 years as bench coach learning under Joe Maddon with two organizations on the forefront of analytics.
Those qualifications will make Martinez's first Spring Training with the Nationals exciting to watch as camp begins. Everyone wants to get a glimpse of Martinez to see if can prove he is the right person to lead.
Despite his track record as a bench coach, no one truly knows how Martinez will adjust as a manager.
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There have been a few scattered hints. Martinez will be hands-on in the clubhouse. Although he will be different from Maddon, the two had success together, so he won't overhaul that approach. Adam Eaton figures to be his leadoff hitter. But mostly all of Washington will be learning about Martinez on the fly. It will make Spring Training intriguing because it has the chance to be so different.
Martinez has the opportunity to be the most modern manager the Nationals have ever had, someone who embraces analytics and balances them with the tools of a player. He has a loaded roster at his disposal, and how he plans to deploy his resources will be something to watch for.
How many different lineup combinations could we see this spring? Could the pitcher bat eighth? Where will Anthony Rendon hit? Will the Nats have set roles in the bullpen? How will Martinez choose to run his camp? These are all questions that could be different under Martinez's style.
Martinez is fortunate enough to have talented players all around the field, but one of the biggest questions will concern the person leading them and how quickly he can get over the learning curve. Spring Training will be a chance for Martinez to get to know his team and for us to get to know Martinez in what could amount to a dress rehearsal before the season begins.