Goal setting is important. Delivering on those goal is what sets you apart from the wannabees. Dave Martinez took this managerial job a little over two years ago, and he made it clear on the day he was hired that he was brought to Washington, D.C. to win a World Series.
“We’re not here just to win a playoff game,” Martinez said at his introductory press conference in November of 2017. “We’re here to win the World Series.”
Some were turned off immediately by Martinez’s statement on his first day on the job in the autumn of 2017. It seemed like that was bold from a man who had not even managed his first MLB game, but kudos to Davey Martinez as he delivered on his statement in his second year on the job. He did what Frank Robinson, Manny Acta, Jim Riggleman, Davey Johnson, Matt Williams, and Dusty Baker could not do with this team. In reality, only Williams and Baker before Martinez inherited teams that were built to win it all. Robinson, Acta, and Riggleman had no shot. Johnson’s team of 2012 over-performed when you look at their postseason roster, and Martinez had the worst bullpen in Nationals history and probably made more with less.
Once Martinez reaches his 87th game this year, he will be the longest tenured coach in Washington Nationals history. The owner of the team record is Manny Acta who lasted just over 2 ½ seasons and 410 games with a .385 winning percentage. In Acta’s defense, he was in a no-win situation. He was merely a placeholder for the building process as part of the Stan Kasten “plan” to build up the farm system to win down the road. The recipients of the good fortune has been every manager after Jim Riggleman. There is not a long history as Ryan Zimmerman can tell you as he has played for every manager in the Nationals history. With good fortune, Martinez could be the guy who becomes a fixture at the helm. He is the same guy so many wanted fired and now want extended. That is baseball.
This year, the goals are the same — to win a World Series, and the Nationals will face an uphill climb once again. In most rankings, they are a mid-80’s win team. In some a Wild Card contender, and in Fangraphs, they are in a virtual tie for first place with the Mets in the NL East. We will play the games and see who wins it. You have to get there first and the preparation all starts now.
“[Our] 2019 was awesome, it really was,” Martinez said. “This winter was fabulous. I spent a lot of time in D.C. and also in many other places, and the, ‘Hey, congratulations — World Champions!’ never gets old. But with that being said, we are in 2020 Spring Training, getting ready to start over and lead ourselves to another championship, hopefully. That’s the goal.”
As all of the pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training camp, the position players will be trickling in. Team business like doing stock photos and videos and passing the team’s medical exam seems to encompass a lot of the first days of camp. Glimpses of Max Scherzer throwing his first bullpen was exciting for all to see along with Stephen Strasburg doing drills.
The main thing as Davey said is for everyone to be healthy. We all know what needs to take place in the first week of camp, and slow and steady seems to win the race. It is a marathon as we all know. What you do now will only benefit you through the dog days of summer. This is only the beginning. Martinez and his staff know what to do as they will replicate what worked last year and improve on what did not. The “Circle of Trust” is back. Playing “Calma” by Pedro Capó was already playing through the speakers. The only thing missing was Brian Dozier dancing without his shirt.