Dave Martinez enters the final year of his contract and with Washington Nationals ownership reluctant to lock up managers long term there could be uncertainty in the dugout this season.
Jim Riggleman walked away from being the manager of the Washington Nationals, mid-season. Bud Black walked away from being the manager of the Nationals before the team could officially hire him. Dave Martinez might walk away from the team as well, and all for the same reasons.
Money and loyalty.
Riggleman was managing one of the hottest teams in baseball at the time as the Nationals had charged back to take over the division lead when he walked out. Gentleman Jim, as he is known in the industry, was upset Nats Brass wouldn’t pick up the option in his contract for the following year. Bud Black walked away before signing a contract.
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After mutual interest leads to a verbal agreement the Nats Brass wouldn’t give him more than a year on his contract and low-balled him on his salary. Now, here sits Dave Martinez with his contract expiring at the end of the year (with a team option for 2021) wondering what more he has to do to earn the trust of the Nats Brass.
The Nationals have had seven managers since manager Frank Robinson brought them to Washington after managing the team in Montreal. None of those seven has managed for more than three years. Martinez is managing his third season now and has done more with the team than any manager previously. Sure, he has had more talent, potentially, though he was able to manage the talent to a World Series win.
With a 19-31 start to the season last year and league-worst bullpen, Martinez was able to employ his “go 1-0 today” mantra and right the ship. In the postseason, he worked around injuries to Victor Robles and Kurt Suzuki, hung on while pushing back a start from Max Scherzer, and out managed Dave Roberts and AJ Hinch.
His maneuvering in the postseason alone should call for his 2021 option to be picked up. Uncertainty breeds malcontent and Dave Martinez shouldn’t have to worry if he’ll have a job next year.
He should be allowed to manage with the comfort of knowing he has the support of his employer. The longer the Washington Nationals ownership group keeps Martinez in limbo the longer they risk him walking out, or losing interest as his future sits uncertain.
Put an end to the revolving door which is the manager’s office and not only pick up his option but negotiate an extension. Martinez has earned his keep, now reward him for it with market value for a World Series-winning manager.