It’s nothing he hasn’t said before, but Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo offered another endorsement of the job Davey Martinez has done this season, in the manager’s first year on the bench in the nation’s capital. Rizzo was asked on Wednesday if he expected Martinez to be back in 2019 after his first season as a manager following ten years as a bench coach in Tampa Bay and Chicago.
“I haven’t considered any other scenario,” Rizzo told reporters in Nationals Park.
“I think Davey has done a great job in managing this team. I think that he’s managed them through a lot of trials and tribulations that a lot of first-year managers haven’t had to go through, and to have the team playing with the exuberance and energy level that they’re playing [with] at this point I think is a testament to Davey and the staff and the way that they feel about him in the clubhouse.”
Rizzo said much the same last month, when he talked to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s The Sports Junkies about just how disappointing this season has been for everyone involved with the Nationals.
“This ranks up there with some of the most disappointing teams that we’ve had,” Rizzo told the Junkies.
“But it’s also — this is my 37th year of professional baseball, so I’ve seen it all. I’ve won the World Series and lost in playoffs in heartbreaking fashion, but to be as inconsistent as we have been is something that doesn’t sit well with Davey or I, and that’s something that we have to fix.”
We noted at the time that Rizzo did say “we” have to fix it, as in “Davey and I,” and the rest of the front office. Rizzo went on to say that he was happy with what he’s seen from Martinez.
“Davey’s a great manager,” he said.
“He’s a vibrant personality. He’s a great Xs and Os guy. He communicates great with the players. He’s exactly the guy that we thought we were hiring this year. He’s upbeat and positive.”
“The players love playing for him,” Rizzo added, noting comments both Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy made at the time in support of Martinez.
“This is far from a manager problem,” Rizzo said.
Is the feeling the same at the ownership level? We’ll see once the season ends.
According to the GM, the Nationals still have the makings of a championship-caliber team and it looks like, as of now, Martinez, who signed a 3-year/$2.8M contract last November is going to be back for another run in 2019.
“I think the core is in place to have a championship-caliber club,” Rizzo said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “I think the process that we have here in D.C. that we’ve shown here in the past is: We’re capable of putting together a championship-caliber club, and I think we’ll do so this offseason.”