After his name failed to appear on the Tampa Bay Rays’ list of three finalists for the team’s managerial vacancy, longtime bench coach Dave Martinez announced earlier this week that he is leaving the organization to pursue other opportunities.
"“I informed the Rays this week that I have chosen to move forward and consider other opportunities that may present themselves outside the organization,” Martinez said in a statement released by the Rays."
For those of us who follow the Chicago Cubs, this raises an interesting situation – one that has been speculated about since Joe Maddon left Tampa and became the new manager in Chicago: is this dugout duo ready to bring their combined magic to the Cubs?
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In the last seven years, the Rays turned around what was once a losing organization, quickly becoming a perennial contender – even reaching the first World Series in franchise history back in 2008. However, once former Rays general manager Andrew Friedman left to become the Los Angeles Dodgers’ new president of baseball operations this offseason, Maddon departed – which set in course the actions of the past week.
Currently, Brandon Hyde is set as the Cubs’ bench coach, although the status of the team’s coaching staff has not officially been finalized since Maddonw as brought onboard. Chicago did bring back former catcher Henry Blanco as the quality assurance coach after the 43-year-old spent last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks coaching staff. In 2013, Martinez interviewed for the Cubs job, which was, of course, eventually given to Ricky Renteria, who lasted just one year with the team.
Martinez’s departure from Tampa Bay does not necessarily mean he’s going to join Maddon in Chicago. One of the most well-respected bench coaches in the game today, he will surely have multiple suitors moving forward. That being said, he would prove to be a valuable asset to Maddon as he transitions to not only a new team, but a new league. As talented as the Chicago front office tandem of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer is, the addition of Martinez would give the Cubs the same potency on a daily basis in the dugout.
For now, we sit tight. But don’t be surprised to see the Cubs and Martinez linked in rumors in the days and weeks to come.