The Washington Nationals officially named Dave Martinez the seventh manager in club history Monday morning, wrapping up a pointed search for the man tasked to take over a talented veteran club with World Series aspirations. Martinez signed a three-year deal with a team option for a fourth year, a notable departure from the Nationals’ previous dealings with managers. A news conference is slated for after the World Series, which will conclude either Tuesday or Wednesday.
“We are delighted to bring Dave aboard and excited about what he will bring to our clubhouse and our dugout,” Nationals managing principal owner Ted Lerner said 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.”
General Manager Mike Rizzo plainly outlined those goals after the Nationals decided not to renew Dusty Baker’s contract, leaving them in search of a manager to replace someone who led the team to 192 victories and consecutive division titles for the first time in franchise history but couldn’t guide the club beyond the National League Division Series. The list really boiled down to one objective: winning a World Series, which will take advancing beyond the NLDS for the first time in club history after four first-round exits.
“I am excited to bring Dave into our family,” Rizzo said. “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.”
Martinez, 53, has spent the past decade as Joe Maddon’s bench coach with the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs — two clubs at the forefront of the analytics movement that has steadily altered the way rosters are constructed, teams are handled, and games are managed in recent years. The 10-year run included an American League pennant with the Rays in 2008 and a World Series title with the Cubs last year. But he has no managerial experience. He interviewed for several managerial openings across baseball at least since 2010, including in 2013 when the Nationals considered him for their position. Washington hired Matt Williams, a fellow rookie manager at the time, instead.
A Cubs draft pick in 1983, Martinez played for nine different teams across 16 seasons, including a four-year stint with the Montreal Expos. He spent the majority of his playing career as an outfielder, though he also played some first base, and recorded the first hit in Tampa Bay history with a single on Opening Day in 1998. The son of Puerto Rico natives, Martinez is the third active Latino manager in baseball, joining Rick Renteria of the Chicago White Sox and Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox.
Read more on the Nationals: