Citing the way he "embraces the analytical side of the game" and what they believe he'll "bring to our clubhouse and our dugout," the Nationals this morning officially announced the hiring of Dave Martinez as their seventh manager in 14 seasons.
Martinez, who agreed to terms with the Nats on a contract Sunday, was given a three-year contract with an option for a fourth year, the club announced.
The 53-year-old former outfielder spent the last 10 seasons as Joe Maddon's bench coach, first with the Rays and then the Cubs. His teams reached the postseason seven times, with one winning a World Series title (Chicago, 2016), another reaching the Fall Classic (Tampa Bay, 2008) and four winning at least one playoff series.
Martinez, who in previous seasons had interviewed for managerial openings with several clubs (including the Nationals in October 2013), emerged from a limited group of candidates to earn this job. Former Red Sox manager John Farrell is the only other person known to have interviewed, though Mets hitting coach Kevin Long also was granted permission to interview, according to sources familiar with the search. Joe Girardi, surprisingly let go by the Yankees last week, did not formally interview with the Nats.
Martinez's hiring came nine days after the Nationals informed Dusty Baker he would not be retained after his two-year contract expired. Despite division titles in each of his two seasons at the helm, the Nats' inability to win their first playoff series under Baker led to a decision that drew fire from a wide range of perspectives around the baseball world.
In announcing Baker's removal from the position, the Nationals declared a lack of satisfaction with regular season success and insistence on October success from their next manager.
"We are delighted to bring Dave aboard and excited about what he will bring to our clubhouse and our dugout," managing principal owner Ted Lerner said today in a team-issued statement. "We have been very clear about our goals as an organization and we feel confident we've found the right man to help us reach them."
Martinez, whose parents are Puerto Rican, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and played in high school and college in Florida. He was drafted by the Cubs in 1983 and spent parts of 16 seasons in the majors with nine different franchises, then joined the Rays coaching staff in 2008 before following Maddon to Chicago in 2015.
His connection to Maddon, long considered one of the most progressive-thinking minds in baseball, appears to have been a major selling point for the Nationals, who are now shifting from a veteran manager whose philosophies were shaped more than two decades ago to a first-time manager who adheres to more of a new-school approach.
"I am excited to bring Dave into our family," general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. "As we went through this process it became clear the type of manager we were looking for - someone who is progressive, someone who can connect with and communicate well with our players, and someone who embraces the analytical side of the game. We came away from the process feeling like there was absolutely no one better suited - who matched up to what this organization needs right now - than Dave."
A news conference to formally introduce Martinez isn't expected until later this week, with the Nationals adhering to Major League Baseball's policy of avoiding major announcements during the World Series.