For the first time since they arrived in town a decade and a half ago, the Nationals know they have a manager for the long haul.
The organization and Davey Martinez agreed to a contract extension today, ensuring the manager who guided the franchise to its first World Series title in 2019 will remain in his position beyond 2021 and become the longest-tenured skipper in club history.
The deal has not been officially finalized yet, according to a source familiar with the discussions, but an announcement is expected soon. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman first reported the agreement.
The news does not come as a surprise. General manager Mike Rizzo, upon receiving his own three-year extension earlier this month, openly stated his desire to not to pick up Martinez’s pre-existing 2021 contract option but to sign him to a new long-term deal. Martinez has since downplayed any questions about his future, insisting he was confident something would get done and has already been making preparations for the offseason and next spring.
Martinez, who turns 56 on Saturday, remarkably becomes the first manager in club history to reach a fourth season in the dugout, his six predecessors all having held the job between 2 and 2 1/2 years. He would’ve surpassed Manny Acta as the club’s leader in games managed this summer had Major League Baseball played a normal season. He’s now set to achieve that distinction early next season when he manages his 411th game.
Martinez’s .520 winning percentage (198-183 entering tonight’s game) only ranks fourth, behind Dusty Baker (.593), Matt Williams (.552) and Davey Johnson (.550). And unlike those three men, he hasn’t yet led the Nationals to a division title. Unlike anyone who managed this team before him, Martinez won a postseason series and ultimately the World Series, forever endearing himself to his players, fans and the organization.
Financial terms of the new deal aren’t yet known, but the original three-year contract Martinez signed in Oct. 2017 was for a total of $2.8 million. The 2021 option on that deal (which the team will not be picking up now) was for $1.2 million.