'No one else': Nats ink Martinez to extension

September 26th, 2020

WASHINGTON -- Manager Dave Martinez will try to go 1-0 every day with the Nationals beyond this season.

A day after the Nats and Martinez reached a deal on a contract extension, according to a source, the team announced on Saturday that Martinez has indeed agreed to a multiyear contract extension. The deal is for three years and $7.5 million, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported.

“It’s awesome,” Martinez said on Saturday. “For me, getting it done before the season was over, I get a chance to breathe a little bit and get a chance to work moving forward knowing that I’m going to be here for quite some time. I’m really excited about that.”

Locking in Martinez, the manager who led the franchise to its first World Series championship, had been on the organization’s to-do list this season. When general manager Mike Rizzo signed his extension on Sept. 6, he emphasized his desire to continue working with Martinez, whose contract would have been up at the end of this season. On Saturday, Rizzo described finalizing the extension before the season ended as “vital,” noting offseason planning will begin immediately. The Nationals held a club option on Martinez for 2021.

“I can’t say enough about Davey’s leadership qualities and the poise he shows under pressure,” Rizzo said in a press release Saturday. “The players, coaches and staff have the utmost respect for him as a manager and a person. There is no one else our team would rather have at the helm. I look forward to our continued partnership as we work together to bring another World Series championship to our fans.”

Martinez’s extension brings consistency to a team that’s seen its share of managers. With the deal finalized, Martinez will become the first manager to reach a fourth season at the helm since the team relocated from Montreal in 2005. Martinez entered Saturday with 381 games managing the Nats, on pace to pass Manny Acta (410 games) early in the 2021 season. He had conversations with the players on Friday about how things won’t change, and he wants the team to continue to have fun while working hard and competing.

“It allows us to give a consistent message, to show that you’ll know the person that is going to be in your career as a player,” Rizzo said. “We couldn’t have hit on a more positive and enthusiastic leader in the clubhouse.”

With years of Major League playing and coaching experience, Washington hired Martinez in October 2017 for his first managerial job. He went 82-80 in 2018, and he led the Nationals from a 19-31 start to a historic 93-69 turnaround last year.

“Three years ago when we selected Davey to be our manager, he made a promise to our fans that he would bring a world championship back to Washington, D.C.,” Nationals managing principal owner Mark D. Lerner said. “There was never any doubt in my mind that he would make that dream a reality. Davey’s determination and unwavering support of his players is admirable. We are so fortunate to have him leading our clubhouse each and every day.”

The Nats finished in second place in the National League East in 2019 and earned the top NL Wild Card spot to begin their World Series run. After eliminating the Brewers in the Wild Card Game, the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NL Division Series and the Cardinals via a sweep in the NL Championship Series, the Nats claimed their first title with a Game 7 road win against the Astros in the World Series.

Martinez entered Saturday, his 56th birthday, with a 198-193 managerial record with Washington. The Nationals fell short of making the playoffs following their World Series-winning season, but Martinez is confident their return to that point isn’t far off.

“It was a tough year on the field,” Martinez said. “But I really do believe our future is very bright and that we’re going to compete again for another championship very, very soon.”