Chicago Cubs’ bench coach Dave Martinez interviewed for the Washington Nationals’ manager job back in 2013, before they went with Matt Williams, and he was rumored to be one of the names the Nats were interested in before hiring Dusty Baker in 2015.
According to a report by Washington Post writer Jorge Castillo this morning, the Nats have reached out Martinez as they search for Baker’s replacement after making the decision to move on from the veteran skipper late last week.
The Nationals have reached out to Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez for their managerial opening and he will interview, per source.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) October 23, 2017
Good get from Jorge. Mike Rizzo is a huge Martinez fan, from manager searches past. https://t.co/8DJUMrCdY3— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) October 23, 2017
Martinez has, of course, never managed at any level, though he has served as bench coach for Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay and Chicago.
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked about how impressed he was with Martinez back in a 2013 conversation with Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell.
“Why Martinez doesn’t have a managing job with a rebuilding team is beyond me,” he said at the time. “He’s smart and he has all his ideas mapped out about how he wants things run.”
Maddon, in a press conference before the 2015 Wild Card Game, talked up Martinez as a candidate for managerial openings.
“He's definitely ready to manage,” Maddon explained. “What does he do well? Like when I went to the Angels years ago with [Mike] Scioscia, Scioscia gave me a lot of latitude regarding to just do my job. His advice to me on a daily basis was that I would walk in the door and go about my business as though I was going to manage that particular day.
“So that was the primary premise of me being a bench coach, and I want Davie to be the same way.
“So Davie, when he comes to the ballpark every day, he walks in the door as though he's going to manage the game. And there is a pretty good chance that I'm going to get kicked out, so he's got to be ready to do that.
“Beyond that, he understands all the numbers that are out there. He understands people and tough conversations. He's really good at tough conversations. He's very straight up, straightforward, and up front. I think that's really vital. You have to have those Godfather days, man, when sometimes you've just got to be blunt and honest with somebody in order to get your point across. He's got all that.
“I think by having done this for several years now, he really understands pitching. I think that's a big part of it. The advantage of having been a catcher for me is the fact that I understood that coming into this whole thing. I think if he had not been a catcher, to be able to be a bench coach and really understand what's going on with the pitching matters a lot. Not a little bit, a lot.
“So he's done it for a while, and he's definitely ready. He's absolutely ready. Some team's going to get lucky.”
Will the Nationals be that lucky team this time around?
Rizzo, after announcing that Baker would not be returning this past Friday afternoon, told reporters in a conference call the search for the Nats’ next manager (and seventh full-time skipper since 2005) would begin immediately.
“We’re going to open up the list of the managerial search and we’re going to do our due diligence and find the right person to get us to the next level and get us to achieve the goals that we’re looking to achieve,” he explained.
We now, apparently, have one candidate we can officially add to the list of potential successors for Dusty Baker.