During the second half of the 2019 season and through the entire postseason, Nationals manager Davey Martinez nearly pushed all the right buttons.
The Nationals finished with 93 regular-season wins, an incredible turnaround from a team that was 12 games under .500 on May 24. The decisions the manager made in October -- such as having multiple starting pitchers make relief appearances and relying on just two true bullpen arms -- were the right ones, as the Nationals 2019 campaign ended as World Series champions.
But according to Nationals senior vice president and general manager Mike Rizzo, people around baseball did not give Martinez enough praise for the job he did turning around the ballclub.
"I do believe that Dave Martinez did not get nearly the credit he deserved for guiding that team to win the World Series," Rizzo said Thursday on The Sports Junkies.
Rizzo was not thrilled with where Martinez finished in NL Manager of the Year voting, as the Nationals skipper came in fifth.
"This guy was fifth in the Manager of the Year voting? C'mon," Rizzo said. "What league were they watching?"
St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt narrowly edged Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell for the honor, with Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker and Los Angeles Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts finishing third and fourth, respectively. Martinez earned just 15 votes, none of which were first place ones.
"If he wasn't the best manager in the [National League] out of anybody, then I haven't been around long enough," Rizzo said. "The skipper on the Cardinals won it, good manager, but he didn't have the year Davey had. He wasn't the manager Davey was for about four and a half months and then through the playoffs."
Well, Martinez got the last laugh, as his Nationals beat Counsell's Brewers in the Wild Card game and later swept Shildt's Cardinals in the National League Championship Series (NLCS).
That's a tradeoff both Rizzo and Martinez will take any day.
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