Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

dave martinez raysThe Cubs headed west to interview Rick Renteria yesterday, and soon they’ll entertain their next managerial candidate: Dave Martinez.

The former Cubs outfielder and current Rays bench coach has worked under Joe Maddon for the past six years, theoretically soaking in a bit of what makes Maddon so good. It is, of course, only theoretical, because we can’t know what is inside a man. But it’s a hell of a nice piece of the resume.

(To my mind, the history with the Chicago Cubs, however, is a relatively thin piece of the resume. Sure, it’s nice to have an attachment to the past, and there are some aspects of Chicago living/fandom that will remain relevant to him. But the idiosyncrasies – as Theo Epstein aptly put it – of the current Chicago Cubs climate bear little resemblance to those of the days gone by. We all know that fan attitudes and behaviors changed after 2003, but I’d argue they changed again after 2008, and again still in 2012. Vague hope became crystalized hope. That gave way to frustration, which simmered into venom. It’s an ugly time to be atop the Chicago Cubs ladder, and any manager coming in needs to know that, not what things were like in the days of the Lovable Losers.)

Setting that aside, Martinez – for what little we know – seems to be as reasonable of a candidate as any of the three who’ve interviewed before him (Manny Acta, A.J. Hinch, and Rick Renteria). He’s been a rumored managerial target in many a managerial search the past few years, and is expected to get a shot eventually.

An interview last year with FanGraphs is worth a read, and gives a little insight into what kind of manager Dave Martinez would be. There’s a lot to like in there (though I do hate that he didn’t immediately poop on sacrifice bunts), including this bit:

The same goes for taking an extra base. One of our mottos here is, “How many times can we be on third base with less than two out?” We want to get to third with less than two out. You have a better opportunity to score from third base.

We have guys that can hit the ball out of the ballpark, but we don’t sit around and wait for those guys. There are times where we have to, but we’re going to be more aggressive. Shelty [hitting coach Derek Shelton] works with these guys a lot, and we tend to want to put the ball in play and let things happen. Things happen when you put the ball into play.

Agreed, Mr. Martinez. Agreed.

For his part, Martinez is rather excited to get a managerial interview with the Cubs, he told the Tampa Bay Times.

“Every year that I have under my belt I’m a lot more confident and a lot more prepared for the challenges of being a manager,” Martinez told Marc Topkin. “I love the idea of being part of winning a championship in Chicago. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

I expect we’ll hear more about Martinez and the other candidates – including any yet unnamed ones – soon after he interviews. That interview is expected to come this week.

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