You’re amply familiar by now with the narratives surrounding the Nationals’ managerial situation. Four skippers have presided over the past eight seasons, dating back to the team’s breakout 2012 campaign. The drama goes back further, but it’s most remarkable that the Nats have managed not to stick with a single manager for very long even as they’ve churned out winning campaigns.
For all the disappointing seasons and heartbreaking postseason showings, the Nats have arguably never faced a situation as dire as the present one since they began their winning ways. After barely topping .500 last year, the first under manager Dave Martinez, the team has limped to a 14-22 start in 2019.
It wasn’t long ago that the Nationals sat at an uninspiring 11-11 record — just 1.5 games out of first place in a packed division and hardly cause for concern in and of itself. The bullpen was a mess, but otherwise the club was getting along well enough. The vibe has changed since, as the Nats have managed only two wins out of their past 13 contests while injury issues mount. Martinez’s charges have a negative-34 run differential in that brief span. Pitching coach Derek Lilliquist was canned a week ago.
There are many different ways to interpret these results. It’d be foolish to lay all the blame on Martinez; veteran Ryan Zimmerman said as much today in support of the sophomore-year skipper. President of baseball operations Mike Rizzo has been unequivocal in his support, saying that Martinez is “doing a great job” in the wake of the Lilliquist firing.
At the same time, it’s hard to deny that the results have fallen well short of expectations since Martinez came aboard. He was hired only after the club parted with Dusty Baker over the failure to advance in the postseason. The premise was that the talented outfit would thrive all the more under new leadership. For whatever reason, Martinez’s efforts haven’t translated to this point. There are complaints over his bullpen management and strategic decisionmaking, though that’s a common refrain for many managers. Even if Martinez isn’t truly doing a poor job, it’s arguably time for the club to receive a real jolt.
So, readers, where do you come down on the matter? (Link to poll for app users; response order randomized.)