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Chicago Cubs: Dave Martinez an impact for a young Cubs team

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Dave Martinez return to the Chicago Cubs has flown a little under the radar.  The signing of Joe Maddon and Jon Lester were the stories that grabbed the headlines for the Chicago Cubs in the off-season. The move that might be equally as important will be the addition of Martinez.  Martinez has been Maddon’s right hand man since 2007 with Tampa Bay.  With a young Chicago Cubs team and some new faces, having a manager and bench coach who know each other as well as Martinez and Maddon do, should make for a smooth transition.

Bench coaches are often overlooked.  Usually the manager and the pitching coaches get the attention before and after the games.  The managers are the ones that catch the heat or the praise depending on the outcome of the game.  The pitching coach is the one that has to explain the problems or success of the pitchers. But the bench coach actually has a lot more to do with the team than most think.

Martinez, is a younger mind in the ranks of managing.  He will relate well with the younger club the Chicago Cubs have.  Also with Martinez being bilingual he will be able to help the communication barrier that some of the younger Latin players the Cubs have coming up to be key figures in the Chicago Cubs rebuilding plan.  Being able to communicate with the younger players who are still learning the game – will help speed up the development process or at least making it a smoother process.

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Martinez has more freedom than most other bench coaches have.  Martinez makes decisions and adjustments as he see’s fit. Of course Maddon has the final say.  Martinez and Maddon are so similar in strategy and management. That may be some of the reason Maddon has given Martinez so much freedom.  Another reason is because Maddon trust’s Martinez and respects his baseball mind.  Martinez isn’t afraid to speak his mind to Maddon and tell him when he doesn’t think something will work.  That is more important than you’d think.

Look back at Joe Torre‘s relationship with Don Zimmer with the New York Yankees.  Zimmer joined Torre in 1996.

That was also the same year the Yankees began their streak to win four world series in five seasons.  Torre would give a lot of credit to Zimmer.  Torre would say that there were parts of the game that Zimmer would see things differently than he would, therefore giving a different perspective on the game plan.  Zimmer would also take a lot of pressure off Torre by helping manage all aspects of the game.

Having that second opinion and back-up allows the manager to worry about the bigger parts of the game.  Knowing you have a mind that is similar to your’s – kind of extension of your personality, you know you and your team are in good hands.

This relationship that Maddon and Martinez have is very similar as Torre and Zimmer.  Where this is different is Zimmer was the playful one where Torre was more serious – Maddon is the playful fun one while Martinez is the serious one. Opposites attract I guess is true in baseball as well as life.

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