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."