Tuesday, October 31, 2017
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It was going to be nearly impossible for the Nationals to find a replacement for Dusty Baker that had as much managerial experience. With that being the case, they figured they might as well just hire someone on the opposite end of the spectrum.
The Nats announced in a press release Monday that Dave Martinez will be taking the reins from Baker in what will be the 53-year-old’s first ever manager job. Martinez was given a three-year contract with a team option for a fourth year and will be introduced in a press conference on Thursday following the conclusion of the World Series.
Of course, just because Martinez hasn’t managed anywhere doesn’t mean he’s not qualified for the job. He has been the right hand man of Joe Maddon for the past 10 seasons, serving as bench coach of the Rays for seven years and bench coach of the Cubs for the past three years.
Martinez has interviewed for multiple manager gigs in the past, including with the Nationals in the 2013-14 offseason when they hired Matt Williams. Obviously, they were convinced this time around that he was ready for the opportunity.
“I am excited to bring Dave into our family,” president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo said. “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.”
The good news for Martinez is that he will immediately inherit a loaded roster, which usually isn’t the case for a new manager. The Nationals are coming off back-to-back National League East titles and they will get virtually all of their key pieces back for next season.
The bad news for Martinez is that the Nats obviously have a fickle past with their skippers. This is their seventh manager in 14 years in Washington, with none of them lasting longer than two and a half seasons in those first 13 years. And, while the Nationals are a good bet to win a third straight division title in 2018, both Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy are set to hit free agency next winter. If Martinez’s first managerial post isn’t an immediate success, his seat could get hot in a hurry.
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Phils Show Kapler Brotherly Love
The Nationals weren’t the only NL East club to officially tap a new manager Monday, as the Phillies announced that Gabe Kapler will be taking over in their dugout.
Kapler, who was chosen over Triple-A Lehigh Valley manager Dusty Wathan and former Red Sox manager John Farrell, will be introduced in a news conference later this week. He’s the 54th manager in franchise history.
“Gabe has a track record of leadership,…