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Dave Martinez's Contract Option for 2023 MLB Season Exercised by Nationals

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJuly 2, 2022

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals announced Saturday that they have exercised their 2023 club option on manager Dave Martinez.

According to Jesse Dougherty and Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post on May 18, Martinez and general manager Mike Rizzo agreed to two-year contract extensions in Sept. 2020 with a club option through 2023.

Dougherty and Janes gave more context on the decision that the Lerner family, which owns the team, had to make.

"If the Lerners choose to go in a different direction, they would have to opt out of employing Rizzo and Martinez for 2023 by a certain date this year," Dougherty and Janes reported.

Had the team decided to move on, Rizzo and Martinez would've reportedly been bought out of their deals.

On May 22, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Nats were expected to pick up Rizzo's option but that the team would make a decision on Martinez by the All-Star break, which begins July 18.

Martinez led the Nats to the only World Series championship in franchise history in 2019 after Washington dispatched the Houston Astros in seven games in the Fall Classic.

That 2019 team was 19-31 after 50 games, 10 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies for first in the National League East.

Undeterred, the Nats went 74-38 down the stretch, including eight straight wins to close the season. They finished second to the Atlanta Braves in the division.

Washington then went to work in the playoffs, beating the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card Game, the 106-56 Los Angeles Dodgers in the Division Series and the NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals in the Championship Series.

The 107-55 Astros were up next, and Washington took care of business against the AL champs, too.

However, the Nats were unable to sustain their success, going 26-34 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season before seeing the bottom fall out in 2021, when Washington finished last in the division with a 65-97 record.

The Nats decided to go on a midseason fire sale in 2021, trading World Series heroes Max Scherzer and Trea Turner among others.

Juan Soto stayed aboard, as did franchise legend Ryan Zimmerman, but the end-of-season 2021 Nats looked next to nothing like the 2019 World Series champs.

In the 2022 campaign, the rebuilding Nats have struggled once again and currently sit last in the National League East with a 29-50 mark.

Ultimately, though, Martinez got the team to where it had never gone before since joining the league as the Montreal Expos in 1969, despite leaner times of late.

The former MLB outfielder and first baseman also played in the bigs from 1986 to 2001, hitting .276 with 91 home runs and 580 RBI for nine clubs. The 57-year-old served as a coach for the Tampa Bay Rays (2018-2014) and Chicago Cubs (2015-2017) before joining the Nats in 2018.

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