Chicago Cubs: Could the team lose Dave Martinez to the Dodgers?
There’s a lot of history between Chicago Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez and Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, whose club lacks a manager for 2016.
Last offseason, Friedman decided to take his small-market mentality and take it out west, becoming the head of the Los Angels Dodgers’ baseball operations. Shortly thereafter, now-Chicago Cubs skipper Joe Maddon opted out of his deal with the Rays, signing a new five-year deal with Chicago.
It was widely anticipated Tampa Bay would tap longtime Maddon student Dave Martinez as his replacement; only to go in an entirely different direction with Kevin Cash. Maddon’s bench coach promptly followed his mentor to the Cubs, assuming the same role he held with the Rays.
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Now, one year later, it’s a lot of those same players in motion.
Maddon, of course, is locked down to that five-year deal – which is a good thing for Chicago, after a 97-win campaign in his first season at the helm of a young team ripe with talent. However, the security of his right-hand man, Martinez, is very much a different question.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Martinez, who has long-been a rumored managerial candidate around the game, is on a short list to replacement former Dodgers’ skipper Don Mattingly, who departed his role last week.
"Friedman said he hoped to have a new manager in place by baseball’s winter meetings … For now, the Dodgers start with five candidates: Chicago Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez, Dodgers minor league director Gabe Kapler, former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black, and Dodgers coaches Tim Wallach and Ron Roenicke."
Now, the history between Martinez and the Chicago Cubs may even be deeper than that between Friedman and Martinez.
The Cubs drafted Martinez back in 1983 and, three years later, he made his big league debut with Chicago. He played well, batting just under .300 in 1987, before struggling and eventually being traded to Montreal in ’88.
Between that and his relationship with Maddon, it’s clear that Martinez has plenty of reasons to stay on the North Side of Chicago – especially after helping lead the Cubs to their first National League Championship Series appearance in 12 years. But, in reality, it’s not that simple.
Martinez deserves a shot at a big-league managerial gig. Whether that be in Los Angeles with Friedman, someone he’s clearly familiar with, or elsewhere, there are few as qualified as he to lead a club from the top step of the dugout.
Another interesting angle to take into account is the fact that the Cubs did with 97 games this year while playing in baseball’s toughest division. A lot of that credit goes to Maddon and his coaching staff and teams looking to replicate Chicago’s success in 2015 may want Maddon’s star pupil to take the reins.
This is one of the more underrated stories in the game right now, but make no mistake. Dave Martinez is a quality big league managerial candidate and, sooner or later, there’s going to be a team that comes a-calling.
Don’t expect the Chicago Cubs to stand in the way.
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