The Dodgers seem to be progressing in their search for a new manager, as a number of candidates have already interviewed for the only current managerial opening.
According to Cubs’ beat writer Gordon Wittenmyer, Dave Martinez will interview for the Dodgers’ managerial job. Martinez played for 10 teams in his 16-year MLB career and became the bench coach in Tampa Bay in 2008, which was the first postseason appearance in franchise history. Martinez worked under Dodger President of Baseball Ops Andrew Friedman in Tampa and was Joe Maddon‘s right hand man for six seasons.
When Maddon went to Chicago last year, Martinez followed. They, along with a breakout pitcher and a ton of great hitting prospects, took the Cubs back to the postseason and gave them a ton of hope to make the Back to the Future II prophecy come true.
Martinez has seemingly been attached to every major managerial opening, and it’s pretty surprising that he hasn’t managed yet. Before the NL Wild Card Game, Maddon gave Martinez a stamp of approval, saying that “He’s absolutely ready [to manage]. Some team’s going to get lucky” (via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney).
This excerpt from Wittenmyer’s story is exciting.
"“He’s definitely ready to manage,” Maddon said during the Cubs’ playoff run last month. “He understands the numbers; he understands people and tough conversations. He’s really good at tough conversations. He really understands pitching."
Jun 10, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez (4) in the dugout against the St. Louis Cardinals at Tropicana Field. St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
If by “understanding pitching”, Maddon means “can manage a bullpen”, Martinez seems like an ideal candidate. He doesn’t have managerial experience, which is probably the only knock on him at this point. However, working alongside one of the best managers in baseball for seven seasons is a pretty sweet apprenticeship.
If you wanted Maddon to replace Don Mattingly last year, it seems logical that Martinez would be one of your favorite candidates. Martinez was seemingly the favorite to take over in Tampa and was endorsed by Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist and Alex Cobb, but was passed over for Kevin Cash.
It is a little troubling that Martinez has been passed over so many times, so there might be more beyond the surface. In late October, Bovada listed Martinez with the second-highest odds to become the Dodgers’ manger in 2016 (only behind Kapler).
Regardless of whether they hire Martinez or not, it’s a lot nicer to write about good managerial candidates than bad candidates. It seems like there are more good candidates in the mix than bad, so if I were a betting man, I’d bet on the Dodgers having a pretty good manager next year. You can all throw this back in my face when they hire Matt Williams and Kirk Gibson.