In comments to the media today, Nationals president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo suggested that manager Dave Martinez is expected to stay in his position in 2019. Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com was among those on the scene (Twitter links).
Martinez has overseen a roughly .500 effort from the Nats this season, his debut campaign as a MLB manager and his first year with the organization. Needless to say, the outcomes have fallen well shy of the lofty expectations held both inside and outside the organization for a talented roster.
On the one hand, it’s not terribly surprising to hear that Martinez is expected to get another shot. “I haven’t considered any other scenario,” says Rizzo, seemingly affirming that the plan — on his end, at least — is to stay with a skipper who surely can’t be blamed for all of the team’s travails. Martinez initially signed a three-year deal, so two more campaigns remain on his contract.
On the other, this is a team that has seen loads of managerial upheaval in recent seasons, even while turning in outstanding overall results in terms of regular-season wins and losses. And Martinez has been on the receiving end of rumors of clubhouse problems, though it’s still difficult to assess those accusations and the organization’s feelings on the matter.
It’s only fair to note that, this time last year, it also seemed Dusty Baker was destined to remain in D.C. Even after another disheartening postseason exit, it was tough to pin the blame on the veteran manager. Still, he ended up not being asked back, kicking off a search that ended with the hiring of Martinez.
While there’s time yet for things to change, then, it seems the expectation ought to be that Martinez will remain in the gig for at least one more season. Rizzo says, unsurprisingly, that the organization believes it still has the core pieces in place to build a highly-competitive roster for 2019, so it seems that Martinez will be under pressure to deliver results from the jump.