Dave Martinez

Davey Martinez makes his pitch to keep Bryce Harper in D.C. — and away from the Cubs

Davey Martinez makes his pitch to keep Bryce Harper in D.C. — and away from the Cubs

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Davey Martinez finally has his dream job of running a Major League Baseball team.

And he wasted no time in petitioning for Bryce Harper to remain in Washington D.C. next year...and not joining forces with hometown buddy Kris Bryant.

"Can I lobby for him right now?" Martinez asked reporters at the MLB Winter Meetings Monday morning. 

Harper becomes a free agent at the end of the 2018 season and Cubs fans have been dreaming about a possible Las Vegas reunion between the 2015 NL MVP and the 2016 NL MVP in 2019 and beyond. Martinez, on the other hand, hopes he gets to work with Harper for "a lot of years" with the Nationals.

Martinez also stayed true to his roots and asked Maddon for advice on managing. Martinez served as Maddon's bench coach for the last three years with the Cubs and the two were paired together in the same capacity from 2008-14 with the Rays in Tampa Bay.

As he met with the media as the new skipper of the Nationals, Martinez relayed Maddon's words of advice:

"He told me, 'Be yourself. You know what you're doing; you've been around a while. Have fun with it,'" Martinez said.

Maddon's two pillars of counsel included:

1. Be yourself
2. Don't be afraid to try things

That advice is right on par with Maddon's style, as he and Martinez have worked to create a clubhouse with the Cubs where players feel free and comfortable to be who they are as players and as people. 

And of course Maddon has rarely backed down from a crazy, half-baked idea, famously putting pitchers in the outfield, hitting pitchers eighth, bringing in magicians to the clubhouse and any number of off-the-wall concepts.

Martinez — who was drafted by the Cubs as a player in the third round in 1983 and spent seven years in Chicago as a player (four with the Cubs, three with the White Sox) — has been interviewing for managerial jobs for the better part of the last decade, but now finally gets his chance with the team the Cubs knocked out of the playoffs just two months ago.

"I really believe this feels right," Martinez said. "It feels lucky to be part of a winning organization. This is the moment and I'm going to embrace it. I can't wait to get to spring training and get started."

Henry Blanco latest Cubs coach rumored to be leaving town


Henry Blanco latest Cubs coach rumored to be leaving town

The Cubs coaching cull continues.

As Davey Martinez's contract with the Washington Nationals was announced, the Washington Post revealed that Henry Blanco is expected to be named Martinez's bullpen coach in D.C.

Blanco served as the Cubs' quality control coach the last three years under Joe Maddon (and alongside Martinez). 

Blanco — possibly known more fondly to Cubs fans as "Hank White" — played 16 years in the big leagues from 1997-2013. He donned 11 different uniforms, with his longest stint with one team coming on a four-year run with the Cubs from 2005-08.

This is the latest move on the Cubs coaching staff shakeup this winter that has resulted in at least four new hires, waving goodbye to six coaches (Chris Bosio, John Mallee, Eric Hinske and Gary Jones plus Martinez and Blanco). Brandon Hyde also moved from first-base coach to bench coach under Maddon.

Blanco also served officially as the Cubs' translator on staff as he spoke both English and Spanish.

Will David Ross become next Cubs bench coach?

Will David Ross become next Cubs bench coach?

David Ross didn’t exactly ride off into the sunset once Cubs teammates Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward picked him up onto their shoulders and carried him off the field after last year’s World Series Game 7 in Cleveland.

Ross “retired” and spent the last year performing on “Dancing with the Stars,” writing a memoir that’s already in movie development, appearing on multiple ESPN platforms and working as a special assistant in Theo Epstein’s front office.

Meaning it won’t be easy for the Cubs to pull Ross back in after Sunday’s news that Dave Martinez will be the next Washington Nationals manager.

Two sources familiar with Grandpa Rossy’s situation and the team’s thinking framed it like this: Ross would be on the short list of ideal candidates to become Joe Maddon’s bench coach, but it’s also doubtful that the timing will be right for someone who is raising a young family in Florida and has so many off-the-field interests. After getting so little time off this year, Ross is said to be waiting until after the World Series is over before even considering anything else for next season.

One internal candidate could be Brandon Hyde, the first base coach for the last three seasons and a bench coach for Rick Renteria (2014) and with the Florida Marlins (2010-11).

Ross is only 40 years old and can pretty much write his own job description, whether it’s eventually taking the leap as a big-league manager, focusing on broadcasting or pursuing more crossover opportunities in the sports/entertainment worlds.

Ross already has built-in relationships in the clubhouse from his time as Jon Lester’s personal catcher and another kind of big brother to Rizzo. Heyward had been so appreciative of the way Ross looked after him when he came up with the Atlanta Braves that he said thanks by paying for a hotel suite upgrade on the road all last season.

But in terms of new voices and different messages, Maddon and his players will already be working with high-profile new coaches Jim Hickey (pitching) and Chili Davis (hitting) and well-regarded third base coach Brian Butterfield.