The Washington Nationals are about to go into manager search mode very soon. The retiring Davey Johnson is riding off into the sunset and leaving behind the keys to Rolls Royce. The next manager in Washington will be getting a winning team that is young and very talented, so they need to have someone with experience in a winning organization that has made it to the MLB playoffs.
Enter Tampa Bay Rays bench coach David Martinez, who is rapidly emerging as the hot name to manage in the big leagues next season. The Nationals have been impressed with the Tampa Bay organization and the way Martinez works with his boss Joe Maddon.
He has been interviewed for managerial openings in the past by the Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox. While he has yet to get a gig most big leagues, executives feel that Martinez will be a good manager once he is given the chance. Many baseball insiders feel that his time has come and that he will get a job in 2014.
Martinez, 48, honed has keen interpersonal skills and an outstanding sense of strategy which he has honed over a 16-year playing career and during six seasons as a bench coach with the Rays. He clearly wants to be a manager, and his present boss Maddon has told the media that he “will be one of the best managers in the game when he gets his chance.”
So what makes Martinez so appealing to the Washington Nationals?
Serving as the Rays bench coach under Maddon, he has shrewdly evaluated talent and has not been afraid to make unorthodox moves on the field, and the Rays have thrived with his help. He has the complete trust of Maddon and works very hard during games as he sets up the Rays’ defense and the team’s “small ball” package. Before the game, he is constantly working with the players, instructing them on base running and bunting.
He is Maddon’s master of how and more importantly, when to play,” small ball,” manufacturing runs and keeping innings alive.
That might be his biggest attraction to the Nationals. His people skills and talent evaluation are of course important, but it is the small ball thing that has their attention. During the Nationals’ hot streak near the end of the season, they ran and bunted more, and playing a little small ball helped them be winners.
If Martinez does become the Nationals’ manager, you can count all the things that put pressure on the opposition that makes the Rays successful becoming Washington’s 2014 calling card.