Nationals

Quick Links

With baseball returning, Nationals' GM and manager contracts remain a pressing issue

With baseball returning, Nationals' GM and manager contracts remain a pressing issue

Timing is everything, as the cliché goes, and it wasn’t right the last few months to address the situations around Davey Martinez and Mike Rizzo.

It is now.

Major League Baseball has a date for spring training to start again. The schedule is expected to be released before the week ends. Keeping everyone safe -- as much as that can be done -- will be the perpetual challenge.

The Nationals can finally pivot to in-house business. They need to figure out their expanded roster, how spring training in Nationals Park will operate, and what pitching strategy they may deploy in a 60-game sprint. Simultaneously, they need to determine what to do about the contracts of Martinez and Rizzo, who are both in the final guaranteed years of their deals.

Martinez is easy. The team owns a club option on his original contract. He will become the organization’s longest-tenured manager this summer. They won the World Series in 2019. There’s no way to manage yourself out of a job (seemingly) during a 60-game season. Fan sentiment is to retain him. Player sentiment is to retain him. For the Nationals, it’s a simple move which remains cost-effective and positive PR. There’s no reason to wait, despite their standard approach to stalling until the very end on personnel contracts.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

The cost is now bargain-basement. Martinez signed a three-year, $2.8 million contract with a fourth-year option for $1.2 million. He would command three times that on the open market. It’s such a team-friendly deal, the Nationals may be well-served to try to tack on two years when discussing the option, let alone promptly pulling the trigger on the option year.

When asked May 1 if there were any discussions at that point about his contract, Martinez responded, “Nothing.” Understandable in the prior climate. It's not now.

Rizzo is more complicated in negotiations, but not merit. He is among the reasons the organization moved from the ashes to the title. His contract expires this year. Of the league’s 30 teams, 27 would probably be interested in hiring him (the Cubs, Dodgers and Yankees are situated).

RELATED: DAVEY MARTINEZ WILL NEEDS HIS PLAYOFF CREATIVITY IN 60-GAME SEASON

He will have distinct leverage for the first time in negotiations. In the past, Rizzo could point at the team’s high-draft pick hits, the regular season wins, the improved culture. Ownership could counter with a flat fact: the team has not won the World Series. They only hired to accomplish that goal, and he was yet to meet it.

That’s off the table now.

Rizzo’s expectation will be a contract that vaults him into the top five of general managers/team presidents in the sport. He has an argument for it. Will the Nationals bestow such a deal on him? If so, the decision will run counter to their usual approach. The organization often acts as if the existing framework is sufficient for success, viewing the people within it as interchangeable. Rizzo, in essence, built the framework, so, does he fall in the same category? They have four months to figure it out, and, finally, the window to start doing so.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO SPORTS UNCOVERED

Stay connected to the Nationals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Report: St. Louis Cardinals season postponed until Friday after more positive coronavirus tests

Report: St. Louis Cardinals season postponed until Friday after more positive coronavirus tests

The St. Louis Cardinals have not played in a regular season game since Wednesday, July 29, after multiple staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

Well, the outbreak has spread to multiple members within the organization. After additional testing was done, seven players have tested positive along with six staff members, bringing the total number of positive tests in St. Louis' traveling party to 13, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Mark Saxon.

As a result, the Cardinals will not travel to Detroit for their four-game series with the Tigers that was scheduled to begin Monday, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal. The tentative plan for St. Louis is to return to action on Friday for a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs.

The positive tests among the Cardinals players occurred after a few players allegedly went to the casino, according to Jerry Hairston Jr. and confirmed by Jon Heyman.

The Cardinals are the second team to have multiple games canceled due to positive tests. The Miami Marlins have not played since Sunday, July 26, after an outbreak ripped through the organization with a total of 18 positive tests among players. The Marlins are set to resume their season Tuesday against the Orioles.

Last Friday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the league could shut down if players don't do a better job of following coronavirus protocols. However, a day later, Manfred said the MLB will continue playing despite more positive tests, saying "there is no reason to quit now."

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

Stay connected to the Nationals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Former National Michael Morse says 60 games isn't enough to crown World Series champ

Former National Michael Morse says 60 games isn't enough to crown World Series champ

Add former National Michael Morse to the list of people that want an asterisk on the 2020 World Series champion

One of the biggest topics of conversation surrounding Major League Baseball's shortened season is whether or not this year's champion will have really "earned it" the way past winners have.

Playing almost 100 fewer regular season games clearly doesn't work for Morse.

RELATED: ROB MANFRED SAYS BASEBALL IS STILL BEING PLAYED AFTER REPORTS OF POSSIBLE SHUTDOWN

What's made baseball's situation more difficult than the NBA and NHL is the fact the regular season hadn't yet started when sports were first shut down. A 60 game schedule is even tougher for so many to accept because of the fact that the sport takes pride in its longevity. Baseball is supposed to be a marathon, and 60 games versus 162 and expanded playoffs are clearly very different. 

That being said, with so many other factors surrounding the sport like the mental toll this pandemic and MLB restrictions can have on players, it's fair to say this is still an incredibly difficult landscape to win in, 60 games or not. 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

Stay connected to the Nationals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: