New contract secured, Martinez focuses on future success

NEW YORK – After an exhausting, exhilarating Sunday in Williamsport, Davey Martinez was looking forward to a relaxing Monday off in Manhattan before his Nationals opened a three-game series against the Yankees. It wound up being an exhilarating day in its own right, complete with an evening celebration with family members after he signed a two-year contract extension to remain this club’s manager through at least the 2025 season, potentially more.

“It’s a blessing for me and my family to be able to do what I love,” Martinez said today after the signing was officially announced. “And actually to be doing a lot better with it right now, with the way the guys have been playing. I really believe the future is bright here for us. I’m excited about that.”

Martinez had been working on the final year of his current contract, unsure if he’d have to wait until September or even October to learn his fate. When he got the word from longtime agent Alan Nero on Monday, though, he was elated to know the question wouldn’t linger any longer.

Martinez’s deal includes two guaranteed years, plus a club option for 2026, according to a source familiar with the contract. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but the 58-year-old is making $3.5 million this season, his sixth as Nationals manager.

Originally hired in November 2017 to take over a franchise that had won four recent division titles but had yet to win a postseason series, Martinez led the Nats through a frustrating 2018 season and then a 19-31 start to the 2019 season before guiding that star-laden roster to a World Series title. Two years later, that roster began to be dismantled, the organization embarking on a full-scale rebuild that bottomed out in 2022 with a club-record 107 losses.

Progress has been evident this season, though: The Nationals have gone 23-14 since July 8, the third-best record in the National League, with several key young players acquired in the last two years leading the way. Another crop of top prospects has turned a once-barren farm system into one of the sport’s best and has club officials optimistic of a return to playoff contention within the next two years.

“Dave Martinez represents the Washington Nationals organization with class on and off the field, and we are thrilled that he will continue to serve as manager,” managing principal owner Mark Lerner said in a statement. “We are especially proud of the way the club has played since the end of June, and the team’s play is a direct reflection of Davey’s leadership. He is determined, passionate and the right person to lead our current group of players as well as the next wave of talent coming to Washington, D.C.”

That ownership decided to retain Martinez and let him attempt to finish what he started with this rebuild was particularly appreciated by the manager.

“To continue to get to do that, especially with a young team, means a lot to me,” he said. “We are heading in the right direction, and these guys are playing really well right now. And it’s more about them than anything else. I love the progression. I love the process, what we’re going through. And to watch them go out there every day and do what they’re doing, it’s been a lot of fun.”

Martinez never discussed his uncertain future with players, nor did they worry about their manager’s fate. But Monday’s news was met with resounding support from the clubhouse.

“It’s great to have him here on this team,” said catcher Keibert Ruiz, who signed an eight-year extension himself this spring. “We are a young team. We’ve been paying better in the second half. And we’re going to keep getting better and win a lot more games. He lets us play. He gives us confidence.”

Martinez’s never-wavering optimism and genuine care for his players has been his calling card since he first was hired. For an organization that never previously had a manager survive three full seasons, the continuity Martinez has brought to the clubhouse has been welcome.

“I think he’s the definition of a players’ manager,” closer Kyle Finnegan said. “We have full confidence that he has our back. He’s going to reprimand us privately and praise us publicly. Those are the things we appreciate. He’s one of those guys you want to run through a brick wall for.”

A longtime coach with the Rays and Cubs who had interviewed for several managerial openings (including the Nationals) but had never been hired prior to 2018, Martinez has now become one of the sport’s most-tenured skippers. His tenure in D.C. has featured the full gamut of emotions, the highs of a World Series title and the lows of a couple of trades of iconic players.

Now Martinez embarks on another chapter here, hoping it concludes with a return to the top of a mountain he has climbed before.

“You could never imagine how this path would go, but we’re here today,” he said. “I always talk about being where your feet are, and I like where we’re headed. I said before: 'Bumpy roads lead to beautiful places.' We’re going to get there.”

Young Nats again lead the way in win over Yankees ...
Game 126 lineups: Nats at Yankees

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to