Earlier this morning, Chicago Sun-Times Cubs’ beat writer Gordon Wittenmeyer told 670 The Score that the organization is planning on asking the Tampa Bay Rays for permission to speak with bench coach Dave Martinez either Thursday or Friday.
An earlier report from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter) indicated that the Rays expected to retain all members of the coaching staff next season. However, the Cubs appear to be willing to change that, should they get the chance to speak with Joe Maddon‘s right-hand man.
Martinez was named the Rays’ bench coach in October of 2011. Since that time, the team is 550-423 (.565) and has not finished below .500 in any one season. Prior to that time, the franchise never posted a winning record in their ten seasons of existence.
Before assuming his role as bench coach, he served as a Spring Training coach for Maddon in both 2006 and 2007, also filling in as the first base coach for the first three weeks of the 2007 season while the team’s regular first base coach, George Hendrick, recovered from knee surgery. He also works with the players, focusing primarily on baserunning and bunting.
A recent report from the Orlando Sentinel indicated that Martinez, although very happy in his current role, aspires to be a big league manager someday. ” Seattle bench coach Robby Thompson, who played with Martinez for the Giants, says that Martinez is a man who both loves the game and expects it to be played right.
He’s free-spirited but stern; that’s how he was as a player, too. He played the game the right way and expects players to do the same.
His dedication to his craft has been rewarded by the Rays organization. Martinez is the second-longest tenured bench coach in all of Major League Baseball, trailing only Ron Wotus of the San Francisco Giants, who has been in his current role since 1999.
During his playing career, Martinez took to the field for 16 seasons with eight different clubs from 1986-2001. He hit a respectable .276 in his career, appearing in 1,919 games and collecting 1,599 hits. Defensively, he played center field, right field and first base.
Originally, he was drafted by none other than the Chicago Cubs. He was selected by the Cubs in the 3rd round of the 1983 amateur draft.
In two separate stints with the Cubs, Martinez hit .255 in 288 games. He also hit 13 home runs and drove in 78 runs, while collecting 28 stolen bases, as well.
Martinez was considered a candidate for the White Sox vacancy prior to the 2012 season, before Robin Ventura was announced as the new skipper on the South Side. He has also interviewed for managerial openings with the Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians in recent years.
Former teammates and co-workers alike seem to have nothing but praise for the Rays’ bench coach. Former Cubs pitcher Rick Sutcliffe, who played with Martinez in Chicago from 1986-1988, knows that Martinez is talented – and that other organizations are going to take note of that in coming years.
Clearly there are going to be more [interviews]. Eventually it’s going to work out. I know he’s really happy where he’s at, so it’s not like he’s begging for a job.