Nationals GM Rizzo says new deal for Martinez is ‘priority one’

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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ATLANTA — Now that he has a new multiyear contract, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says his top priority is working out a long-term deal for manager Dave Martinez.

The Nationals have a club option for Martinez for 2021. Rizzo said Sunday his preference is “just to disregard that” club option and instead work out a new contract for the manager.

“That’s priority one to get Davey taken care of,” Rizzo said. “My plan is and my preference is to not pick up the option and go well beyond that.”

Rizzo’s multiyear extension was announced by the team on Saturday.

Martinez said Saturday he wants to remain in Washington.

“Mike’s is done. Mine should be coming around the corner pretty soon,” Martinez said when asked about his contract status. “We’ll see what happens.”

Rizzo and Martinez led the Nationals to the 2019 World Series title. This year, Washington is in last place in the NL East.

“Going through what we’re going on the field, it’s kind of hard to celebrate a personal achievement,” Rizzo said, referring to his new contract.

Rizzo said negotiations on his deal began about one week ago.

Asked if he became frustrated the extension did not come sooner, Rizzo said the deal allows those who work around him to relax.

“People run into a little bit of anxiety as you get closer to the end of the season,” he said. “It feels good for everyone around us. Now we can do what we need to do and take care of what we need to for the rest of the season and the offseason.”

Rizzo said he didn’t let his uncertain status affect his work.

“I was never going to mention it to the ownership and never did,” he said. “… They knew I wanted to be here and also knew this negotiation wouldn’t take long once we got into it.”

Negotiations with shortstop Trea Turner may be another priority for Rizzo, who said there were discussions of an extension in spring training.

Turner has a one-year, $7.45 million deal this season. He can be eligible for free agency in 2023.

Report: Mike Clevinger agrees to 1-year deal with White Sox

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox bolstered their rotation, agreeing to a one-year contract with right-hander Mike Clevinger, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was subject to a successful physical.

The 31-year-old Clevinger went 7-7 with a 4.33 ERA in 23 games, including 22 starts, for San Diego this year. He missed the 2021 season after he had Tommy John surgery.

Chicago is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2022 season, when it went 81-81 and finished 11 games back of surprising AL Central champion Cleveland. Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa stepped down in October and Pedro Grifol was hired on Nov. 1.

The White Sox got a big lift from Johnny Cueto this year, but the 36-year-old right-hander is a free agent after going 8-10 with a 3.35 ERA in 25 appearances. Clevinger slots into a rotation that likely will include Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech.

The move puts the 6-foot-4 Clevinger back in the AL Central after he made his major league debut with Cleveland in 2016. He went 42-22 with a 3.20 ERA in four-plus seasons with Cleveland before he was traded to San Diego in a multiplayer deal in August 2020.

Clevinger was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the fourth round of the 2011 amateur draft. He was traded to Cleveland in 2014.

Clevinger is 51-30 with a 3.39 ERA in 128 career big league games. He also has 694 strikeouts in 656 2/3 innings.