Chicago Cubs: Joe Maddon loses his right-hand man, but things will be just fine

WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Dave Martinez /

For the first time in more than a decade, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon will be without Dave Martinez as his bench coach and right-hand man.

This offseason featured plenty of on-field changes for the Chicago Cubs. But one of the biggest differences between the first three years of Joe Maddon’s tenure and 2018? His go-to guy in the dugout won’t be by his side this season.

53-year-old Dave Martinez was hired by the Washington Nationals in late October to replace Dusty Baker as manager after the Nats suffered yet-another first-round exit in the postseason.

Martinez had been by Maddon’s side since 2006 when the two guided the Tampa Bay Rays from 2006 to 2014, and then with the Cubs from 2015-2017. In their years together, Maddon and Martinez compiled a 1,078-1,031 record (including the postseason).

The pair go together like peanut butter and jelly. But let’s face it. Martinez deserves a chance to be a manager in the big leagues. That’s been the case for what feels like forever, so when the opportunity presented itself, he jumped all over it.

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There is bound to be an adjustment period for Maddon without Martinez to start the season. But the transition should be somewhat smoother given Brandon Hyde now holds the bench coach title. He has been a part of Maddon’s coaching staff since 2015.

Martinez faces steep challenges in D.C.

To be honest, the hardest and toughest transition could be for Martinez himself. Going from assistant to the head man is never easy – no matter the sport. In the majority of situations, the bench coach is brought in for input, but as the manager, you are the one who is required to make the final decision.

For instance, Martinez must decide what to do with Matt Adams. One would think Ryan Zimmerman is going to get the majority of the playing time at first. Of course, that’s Adam’s best defensive position. The new Washington skipper must now figure out Adams’ role and where he’ll play defensively when in the lineup.

It’s never easy when things change, but Martinez has earned this opportunity. Not to mention, he’s in an excellent situation as a first-time manager. The Nationals are already primed and ready to make a deep playoff run. Truth be told, Martinez is the perfect guy to bring fresh blood and a new approach to the Nationals’ clubhouse.

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The Cubs will be fine too. Maddon is the kind of manager and person who can work and get along with everybody, and that includes his new bench coach.