(The Sports Xchange) - The Washington Nationals hired Chicago Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez to become their next manager, the team announced Monday.
The 53-year-old Martinez agreed to terms on a three-year contract with an option for a fourth year, making him the seventh manager in Nationals history since they moved from Montreal before the 2005 season.
Martinez was considered the front-runner to replace Dusty Baker, who was fired last week after two seasons. This is the first major league managerial assignment of Martinez’s career.
“We are delighted to bring Dave aboard and excited about what he will bring to our clubhouse and our dugout,” Theodore N. Lerner, managing principal owner of the Nationals, said in a 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 joins the Nationals for what will be his 30th season in professional baseball. A 16-year major league outfielder, Martinez has been a coach for the last 10 seasons, serving as Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s bench coach and right-hand man in Chicago (2015-17) as well as with the Tampa Bay Rays (2008-14).
When Maddon became the manager of the Cubs before the 2015 season, Martinez followed him to Chicago. A year later, the Cubs won the 2016 World Series title for the team’s first championship in 108 years.
“I am excited to bring Dave into our family,” Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo said in making the announcement 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.”
Martinez was a .276 career hitter in the majors while playing for nine different teams.
The Nationals also interviewed former Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell. New York Mets hitting coach Kevin Long was a candidate for the opening.
Editing by Steve Keating in Toronto.