1. Rays

Dave Martinez a natural fit to replace Maddon as Rays manager

Dave Martinez stood at Maddon's side for most of the past seven seasons, serving as his bench coach. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
Published Nov. 5, 2014

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays don't have to look far for the most obvious candidate to replace Joe Maddon as manager.

Dave Martinez stood at Maddon's side for most of the past seven seasons, serving as his bench coach, managing along with him — and, sometimes, in place of him — while offering strategic suggestions, handling substitutions and position changes and operating as the primary clubhouse conduit, with good and bad news, to many of the players.

In what so far has been a jarring offseason, with the unexpected departures of executive vice president Andrew Friedman then Maddon, hiring Martinez, 50, would provide the least additional disruption and allow for the most continuity.

What Rays officials have to decide is whether that is a good thing.

With a list of up to a dozen candidates — set to be revealed as soon as today — the Rays are obviously going to consider a variety of alternatives to Martinez. But given plans to retain the coaching staff, they don't seem intent on a clean break.

Martinez, who has declined comment since Maddon's Oct. 24 departure, is definitely interested in the job and has felt, for several years, that he is ready for the task.

"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," he said last season.

At least five other teams felt Martinez was ready enough over the past few years to interview him for their managerial opening — the Indians, Blue Jays, Astros, Cubs and Nationals — but none, obviously, was convinced enough to hire him, which raises some questions.

"Davey did a great job in the interview process. We really enjoyed him," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said after passing over Martinez last winter for Rick Renteria, who — ironically — was fired last week to make room for Maddon.

"I think on his own, he's very bright, very hard-working, very well respected. And then from the interview process, it sounds like he's learned a ton being with Joe Maddon. He'll be a manager really soon in the big leagues."


Obviously if the Rays were that sure, they could have just named him Maddon's successor already, as they did when Matt Silverman immediately replaced Friedman as president of baseball operations.

Though Martinez doesn't have Maddon's outgoing, eccentric personality, he is likely to perpetuate some of his philosophies, which Rays officials will have to weigh. Their biggest concern could be his lack of experience as a manager, limited basically to the 30 games, and 110 or so innings, he finished after Maddon ejections (going 13-17).

Communication skills (with bosses, players, media), maintaining the clubhouse culture and an embrace of analytics are likely to be topics with any candidate. A seemingly petty issue could be that Martinez is also represented by Alan Nero, the agent who orchestrated Maddon's departure, in which the Rays have alleged some impropriety.

Several Rays — position players and pitchers — have already spoken out in support of Martinez, who played 16 seasons in the majors as an outfielder — including 2½ as an original Devil Ray — before retiring after 2001 and settling permanently into the Tampa Bay area with his wife and four kids. Maddon has previously endorsed Martinez as being ready to manage as well.

"I'm really hoping they sign Davey and give him a shot," reliever Joel Peralta said. "Not only did he learn a lot from Joe, he knows the Rays organization, he knows the Rays way. Everybody knows him, everybody's comfortable around him. He's a great guy, and I believe he can be a great manager.

"Joe let everyone do his own thing and play hard, and I think Davey would be the same way. I know every player is going to want to play hard for him."

So, too, has third-base coach Tom Foley, a former big-league teammate and longtime friend.

"I think he's ready," Foley said. "He sat next to Joe, and I know how he operated. He made sure to tell Joe what was on his mind, and if Joe agreed, fine, and if not, he would do what he wanted. They communicated great together. Davey is a strong presence in the clubhouse, well-respected by the staff and players. … He's a good fit."

Contact Marc Topkin at Follow @TBTimes_Rays.


  1. Bucs linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul is back. Can he help Tampa Bay get back into NFC playoff contention? MARK LOMOGLIO  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Can JPP save the Bucs’ season? Plus: Can anything save Willie Taggart in Tallahasse? Why couldn’t the Yankees save themselves?
  2. The Nationals' Juan Soto hits a two-run double off Astros starter Gerrit Cole during the fifth inning of the World Series opener. Soto also hits a solo home run. ERIC GAY  |  AP
    Washington holds on for a 5-4 victory in Houston.
  3. Nicholas, a rescued bottlenose dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, made his World Series pick. Photo provided by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
    The Astros opened as the biggest World Series favorite in 12 seasons. But check out what’s going on poolside at Clearwater Marine Aquarium before making your bets.
  4. Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer warms up during batting practice for baseball's World Series Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Houston. The Houston Astros face the Washington Nationals in Game 1 on Tuesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) DAVID J. PHILLIP  |  AP
    Predictions from Marc Topkin, Martin Fennelly and John Romano.
  5. Karsyn Waechter, Riley Vigue and Avery Vigue are extending the athletic legacies of their fathers. Alissa Vigue, Special to the Times
    Doug Waechter and former Rays minor-leaguer are passing their love of the game on to their daughters and their teammates
  6. Between the potential of historic pitching matchups, the emergence of Juan Soto and the heroics of Jose Altuve, this Washington-Houston World Series has more going for it than the Vegas odds might suggest. MATT SLOCUM | AP Photo MATT SLOCUM  |  AP
    The Astros are the heaviest favorites the World Series has seen since 2007. Still, there is reason to believe his Fall Classic has memorable moments ahead.
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston talks to reporters after an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. The Saints won 31-24. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) BUTCH DILL  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: What’s next for the Bucs, Astros-National World Series preview, the Lightning’s short-circuit start
  8. Davey Martinez gained valuable experience as a coach behind Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay. But when Maddon exited, the Rays bypassed him for a "new voice," Kevin Cash. Tampa Bay Times
    After failing to land a half-dozen manager jobs, including with the Rays, Martinez and Nats ended up a good match.
  9. Jose Altuve prepares to be mobbed by his teammates at home plate as Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman leaves the field after giving up a walkoff two-run homer to the Astros second baseman in the ninth inning to win Game 6 of the AL Championship Series 6-4 on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. The Astros win the series 4-2 and advance to the World Series to play the Washington Nationals. MATT SLOCUM  |  AP
    New York ties the ALCS Game 6 in the top of the ninth with a two-run HR before the diminutive second baseman wins it with a blast off Aroldis Chapman, putting Houston in the World Series.
  10. In 1968, slugger Frank Howard, known as the "Washington Monument," proved to be one of the few bright spots for the Washington Senators. AP
    The Nationals’ improbable postseason run rekindles memories of the woeful Washington Senators