The 69-70 Nationals have underperformed expectations, but it sounds like first-year manager Dave Martinez will be back with the club next season. Per MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, GM Mike Rizzo said about Martinez returning next year, “I haven’t considered any other scenario.”
Granted, this is not a full-throated, “Martinez will be back next year,” but it sounds like the club will give Martinez another season to make an impact. The Nationals suffered back-to-back Game 5 losses in the NLDS under Dusty Baker the last two seasons and are on the outside looking in with regard to the playoff race this year under Martinez. They’re seven games back of the Braves and eight games out of the second Wild Card after having traded Daniel Murphy, Matt Adams, and Ryan Madson in what amounted to throwing in the towel.
Martinez is under contract through 2020 with a 2021 club option, but as we’ve seen in the past (ex. Pete Mackanin), managers don’t always play out the full duration of their contracts.
Per Zuckerman, Rizzo also said, “The core is in place to have a championship club.” The expectations aren’t getting any lower, even with a mediocre 2018 showing.