Mike Rizzo wasted little time transitioning from his resolved contract status to the undetermined situation for his manager, Davey Martinez.
Rizzo signed a three-year extension with the Nationals on Saturday morning. Martinez remains in the final guaranteed year of his contract. He has less than two months remaining before it expires.
The organization holds an option year for next season. It could simply pick it up. Instead, Rizzo wants to discard the option year in favor of something more long-term and lucrative.
“That’s priority one, is to get Davey taken care of,” Rizzo said Sunday. “My plan is, and my preference is, to not pick up the option and to go beyond that. That’s the plan going forward. See if we can get something done. Negotiate a longer-term deal with him that goes beyond just picking up the option.”
That approach, of course, makes negotiations more complicated. A new deal means new money and more years. Martinez’s current cost was at thrift-store levels when compared to what he accomplished by winning the 2019 World Series with the team. He was hired as a rookie manager and paid accordingly. His inexperience as the person in charge will no longer be the anchor around his negotiations.
“The option was under the old contract,” Rizzo said. “My preference is to just disregard that and sign a new contract with him.”
Martinez said Saturday he doesn’t think about his contract situation. He went on to say he thinks the organization will “do the right thing.”
“I’ve had a good relationship with the Lerner family,” Martinez said. “They know how I feel about being here. I love it. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. That being said, Mike getting his deal could possibly open up the doors here fairly soon.”
Martinez went 82-80 his first season, though was lauded for keeping the team afloat amid a plethora of injuries. He helped turn them from 19-31 to World Series champions last season. This year, the Nationals are struggling -- again in part because of injuries, but also because of poor all-around play. They are 14-24 with very low postseason chances heading into Sunday.
Martinez simply making it to the fourth year of his contract would be notable since he works for an organization known for high managerial turnover. An extension, should it happen, would easily make him the longest-tenured manager in organization history.