Dusty Baker

Crosstown quiz: Which player or manager are you?


Crosstown quiz: Which player or manager are you?

Ever wondered which Crosstown player or manager you are most like?

With the Cubs and Sox ready to renew their rivalry June 18-19 on NBC Sports Chicago, this quiz is your chance to find out: 

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The ripple effects for Dave Martinez as Cubs shake up staff and Nationals can now pursue Joe Girardi

The ripple effects for Dave Martinez as Cubs shake up staff and Nationals can now pursue Joe Girardi

Joe Girardi isn’t going there for a crewcut – to borrow a John Lackey phrase – and that might help Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez get the manager’s job with the Washington Nationals.

The New York Yankees shook up the industry on Thursday by announcing that they would not be offering a new contract to Girardi, the ex-Cub who grew up in Peoria and graduated from Northwestern University.

Girardi did not experience a losing season during his 10 years in The Bronx, winning the 2009 World Series and helping the Yankees through a youth movement that just got them to an American League Championship Series Game 7.

That would make Girardi a dream candidate for the 2018 Nationals and Bryce Harper’s final season before becoming a free agent. Except Washington has a perception problem after using three different managers to win four National League East championships since 2012.

Dusty Baker guided the Nationals to back-to-back division titles – and has a Hall of Fame-caliber resume – and still got fired in the middle of October after the Cubs beat them in a one-run elimination game.

Girardi just completed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Yankees – or about double the length and four times the financial commitment the Nationals reportedly gave Baker.

Is Washington ownership willing to pay a manager Joe Maddon money?

And would Martinez – Maddon’s longtime bench coach with the Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays – get his old job back if the Nationals don’t hire him?

“I would think so,” Maddon said Thursday on a conference call announcing big changes to his coaching staff. “We haven’t concluded anything. And I’m really hoping Davey gets this job. It’s about time he’s being considered so strongly. He’s ready to do this.

“It’s time for him to hold his own baby and go out there and have his voice be heard. Obviously, we’re all pulling for Davey. It’s the right time for him.”

In latest twist to Cubs-Nationals, Dave Martinez will interview for Dusty Baker's old job

In latest twist to Cubs-Nationals, Dave Martinez will interview for Dusty Baker's old job

Dave Martinez – Joe Maddon’s bench coach during unprecedented runs of success with the Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays – is ready to step outside of the star manager’s shadow and run his own big-league team.

A Washington Nationals franchise coming off back-to-back division titles – while having some big personalities in the clubhouse and obvious internal issues – could still be that ideal opportunity.

The Nationals have reached out to set up an interview with Martinez, a source said Monday, confirming a Washington Post report in the wake of Dusty Baker’s messy exit, eight days after a massively disappointing playoff loss to the Cubs.

Martinez had been an X-factor in Washington’s search two years ago, when negotiations broke down with Bud Black and the Nationals eventually circled back to Baker, the former Cubs manager.

Martinez has the built-in credibility that comes from playing 16 seasons in the big leagues, which would be an asset for a team that has Bryce Harper entering his final season before free agency and Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg at the top of the rotation.    

Martinez, who is fluent in Spanish and analytics, spent the last 10 years working as the bench coach for two data-driven organizations, putting him at the cutting edge of defensive shifts, bullpen management and game-planning systems.    

While Maddon thrives in the front-facing aspects of the job, dealing with the media before and after every game and selling a vision to the public, Martinez handles a lot of the behind-the-scenes issues, putting out clubhouse fires and interacting with the players in one-on-one settings.

The partnership worked to the point where the Rays captured the 2008 American League pennant and the Cubs won last year’s World Series. While the Cubs have advanced to the National League Championship Series for three straight seasons, the Nationals have been knocked out of the first round of the playoffs four times since 2012.

In the middle of the grueling five-game playoff series where the Cubs outlasted the Nationals – which may have been a tipping point against Baker for Washington executives – Maddon lobbied for Martinez to be in the manager mix during baseball’s hiring-and-firing season.

“He belongs in the group,” Maddon said. “I know all these people being considered, and I promise you our guy matches up with every one of them.

“He was such a heady, aggressive, gritty kind of player. Bilingual. All that matters. He's not afraid to have the tough conversations (that) people in that position may shy away from.

“Believe me, I see all the names. There are a lot of good names, and I like a lot of these dudes. But I’m just telling you: To not include his name with those other people baffles me.”