BOCA RATON, Fla. – Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez walked through this upscale hotel on Wednesday afternoon, about to visit with the Los Angeles Dodgers and interview for their manager’s job.
Martinez – who gets a strong endorsement from Joe Maddon after spending eight seasons working next to arguably the best manager in the game – is one of at least nine reported candidates to replace Don Mattingly.
That picture should become somewhat clearer after this week’s general manager meetings at the Boca Raton Resort and Club. The Dodgers released Mattingly after a 92-win season and a first-round playoff exit, allowing him to become the Miami Marlins manager.
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The Martinez/Maddon connection is obvious with Andrew Friedman now running baseball operations for the Dodgers after leaving the Tampa Bay Rays last October.
Martinez lasted 16 seasons in the big leagues and still looks like he could play, even at the age of 51, and that experience gives him instant credibility in the clubhouse. Between the Rays and Cubs, Martinez has exposure to two successful, data-driven organizations that have developed young talent.
Originally drafted by the Cubs in 1983, Martinez knows what it’s like to play for an iconic franchise and handle big-market pressure. Maddon relies on Martinez to deliver messages to players, keep the peace in the clubhouse and help create the culture for what turned out to be a 97-win playoff team.
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President of baseball operations Theo Epstein has said Maddon’s entire coaching staff would be invited back for next season. Now the Cubs will see if Maddon’s right-hand man will return in 2016.
“Davey’s very deserving of that opportunity,” Epstein said. “As much as I’d hate to lose him, I hope he does well and gets the job. He’s a big part of what we have going on here and very experienced. And I think it’s inevitable that someday he’ll get that opportunity.”