They call it “always the bridesmaid and never the bride” when you are in the cleats of Dave Martinez and finish second or third in your endeavors. “Always” and “never” aren’t fair words, and Dave Martinez wants to change that. He has done his share of interviewing for managerial jobs he has really wanted like in 2013 with the Nationals after Davey Johnson departed then in 2014 when Joe Maddon resigned from the Tampa Rays, and 2015 when the Dodgers opened up their managerial spot. For Martinez, he has always been close, and close in those relationships that usually all goes back to his years as an original Devil Rays player.
Those relationships created bonds obviously with Andrew Friedman who moved to the Dodgers and Joe Maddon who only took one coach with him to the Cubs and that was Martinez. Still, Martinez has said those magic words once when he actually left his only coaching job with Tampa to join the Cubs, “I have chosen to move forward and consider other opportunities that may present themselves outside the organization.” Martinez would like to echo similar words again.
In 2013, Dave Martinez interviewed with the Washington Nationals and they hired Matt Williams.
“Bench coach Dave Martinez interviewed for the Nationals’ managerial job before the team hired Matt Williams,” Bill Ladson a Nationals beat writer wrote in 2013. “Martinez impressed Washington’s front office, and he was one of the top three candidates for the position.”
Is the second time the charm for Dave Martinez? Was learning under Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon enough finishing school for Martinez along with the World Series ring to propel him this time to the front of the line? Was learning under Andrew Friedman who espouses the virtues of analytics enough? What did he see from the other dugout in this NLDS that thwarted the Nationals chances and would he have done differently than Dusty Baker? Joe Maddon has campaigned for Dave Martinez before.
“[Dave Martinez] really understands all the numbers that are out there. He understands people and tough conversations. He’s really good at tough conversations,” Joe Maddon said. “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.”
Contrary to those rumors that persist, Dave Martinez is not represented by Scott Boras although he knows many of his clients. Martinez as some say is a confident man who probably has not been aggressive enough in his interviews. The father of four children with his wife Lisa, they have been baseball lifers. They met at the beginning of Dave’s pro career in the Cubs organization back in the 1980’s. Martinez also played for the Montreal Expos along the way and Martinez just turned 53-years-old.
“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,” Mike Rizzo said.
Mike Rizzo has many candidates to see and none will be as unique as Martinez who played in the Major Leagues as an outfielder and 1st baseman and also has 1 1/3 innings of pitching experience to commiserate with those have who have toed the pitching rubber. He had the life as a starter and a bench player and played in the post-season and reached the highest level as a bench coach. The resumé seems to be there, but is that enough?
Martinez wanted the Nats managerial job before, and now seems to be the right timing for both sides as they know him well, and he clearly knows the Nationals well. There is certainly risk in any managerial hire, and he has to fit into a system that was successful in the regular season with Dusty Baker. Of course past results are not always indicative of future success when leadership is changed.