The Washington Nationals formally introduced new manager Dave Martinez on Thursday afternoon. Here’s what we learned.
After a quick hiring process, the Washington Nationals hired Dave Martinez to be their seventh full-time manager in team history. They reached an agreement earlier this week, but followed Major League Baseball’s policy of not taking attention away from the World Series and officially announced it yesterday.
On Thursday afternoon, Martinez was formally introduced at his introductory press conference. While you can never learn too much from an introductory press conference, especially with a first-time manager, there were a few key takeaways.
The first major takeaway was that Martinez and co. will be extremely conscious of analytics and sabermetrics. Throughout the press conference, Mike Rizzo and Martinez said the word “analytics” as if they were getting paid each time they said it.
While Martinez made it clear that he will focus on analytics, he made an excellent point about not overdoing it. He mentioned that he will pay attention to all of the analytics and sabermetrics because the data is there to help, but he will be careful and make sure the players do not hear too many stats.
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Martinez also mentioned that he will be a mix of both old school and new school. Obviously, he will incorporate the new school aspect with analytics, but he will also incorporate old school because baseball is still the same sport that it has always been. As he put it, “baseball is still played on dirt and grass with bats and gloves.”
Another main takeaway is that Martinez will preach togetherness and family. The baseball season is a grind, so it is crucial that everyone on the team is able to cooperate and get along. Martinez spent ten seasons at Joe Maddon‘s side, and Maddon is known for bringing teams together with events such as having costume-themed flights.
One way that Martinez said he will build togetherness and family is by implementing “Sunday Fundays” during Spring Training. On Sundays, the team will show up a bit later and the players’ children will have an opportunity to have fun with the players and all of the families.
The final takeaway was Martinez’s positivity, energy, and eagerness to get started. He acknowledged that the baseball season is a grind and there will be bad days, but the team must remain positive and come back ready to play the next day.
Obviously, there is immense pressure on the Nats to win the World Series. They are one of the most talented teams in the league, but have yet to advance past the National League Division Series. However, Martinez is not intimidated.
Former Nats manager Davey Johnson said 2013 was “World Series or bust”, and Martinez has taken a similar approach. Martinez frequently mentioned the goal of winning a championship and when MASN broadcaster F.P. Santangelo asked him what would make 2018 a success, he responded, “Winning the World Series.”
Martinez also said that he will bring great energy everyday, which was illustrated throughout the press conference. The entire time, it was obvious that he was ecstatic to get the job and could not wait to get started.
When asked how he will win over the veteran clubhouse as a first-year manager, he said he will begin building relationships as soon as possible. He already plans to fly to Arizona this weekend to meet Max Scherzer and attend his event. Martinez also met Sean Doolittle before the press conference, and will continue to meet the rest of the team throughout the off-season.
While Martinez has yet to meet most of the players and has not yet made an impact on the team, he has already made a great first impression. An introductory press conference is essentially meaningless, but Martinez’s could not have gone better.