Written By: Devin Garner
After the Washington Nationals won the 2019 World Series under the leadership of second year manager, Dave Martinez, they knew that they had to lock him up for years to come. His contract was set to expire at the end of the 2020 season. Martinez received a three-year, seven and a half million dollar contract, according to ESPN.
When arriving in Washington to become the manager in 2018, he had high expectations after the team had not won a playoff series since returning to Washington. Not only had the team not won a playoff series since returning to Washington, they also had recently let go of highly-renowned manager, Dusty Baker. Upon the hiring of Martinez, General Manager Mike Rizzo argued in a statement to Eddie Matz of ESPN, “Winning a lot of regular-season games and winning divisions are not enough.” He went on to say that, “Our goal is to win a World Championship.”
While the bar was set high for Martinez upon his arrival in Washington, his team scuffled greatly in his first year as manager. The team finished with a record of 82-80 and missed out on the playoffs. Numerous fans and Major League executives were calling for the dismissal of the first- year manager as his team had failed to even make the playoffs with an elite lineup and a star-studded pitching rotation. In an interview done by RADIO.com with former Major League Baseball executive Jim Bowden in regards to what he would have done during the dismal season, “I would have fired [Martinez midseason] and brought in Joe Girardi, try to win right now.” In continuing to remark on the moves that he would have made, he states: “That is what I would have done. That is a 95-win club. Why are [The Nationals] at .500? They let Dusty Baker go because they thought Dave Martinez would do a better job in October. Well, you got to get to October.”
Facing sharp criticism, Martinez remained at the helm of the team heading into the 2019 season. However, the team once again faced another horrible start as their record hit 19-31 on May 23 and they had a 3.4% chance of winning the World Series. The future looked bleak and it appeared that the second manager would soon be headed out the door.
However, Martinez remained calm and collected and did not let the chatter of being fired affect him. He continued to manage his team and let his veteran players guide them through the tumultuous stretch. The team quickly turned around their season and soon found themselves in the playoff picture. The team added key players such as Gerardo Parra, Asdrubal Cabrera and Daniel Hudson. Martinez continued to believe in his players and they continued to believe in him. At the end of the season, the team finished with a record of 93-69 and clinched a wildcard spot in which they would face off against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
The rest is history as the ballclub was able to knock off the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros in stunning fashion to win a World Championship. While many were calling for the manager to be fired, he proved them wrong and showed them that he indeed was the right choice for the job.
Now, Martinez is getting rewarded for his stellar performance as the manager of the Washington Nationals and will find himself managing the team for years to come. In an interview with Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post, the Nationals ace pitcher and face of the franchise, Max Scherzer, had glowing remarks on the contract of his manager. He stated that, “[Martinez] is everything you want in a manager,” as he goes on to state, “That’s why I am happy the organization was able to sign him back. He just has the feel for the game.”
Dave Martinez will now head into the offseason with reassurance as he knows that he will be returning to manage the red and white on South Capitol Street. As a lifetime baseball player and coach who has preserved through many obstacles, nobody deserves this more than Dave Martinez, the 2019 World Series Champion manager.