ORLANDO, Fla. — Dave Martinez is still waiting for his shot to apply everything he’s learned working next to arguably the game’s best manager, inside perhaps the most creative organization in baseball.
The Tampa Bay Rays bench coach got an audience with Cubs executives after Dale Sveum got fired. But this search tilted toward the West Coast, with three San Diego Padres employees getting interviews.
Brad Ausmus took the Detroit Tigers job. A.J. Hinch will remain in the San Diego front office. Rick Renteria is now the 53rd manager in franchise history.
Martinez played for the Cubs and White Sox, but didn’t have much background with a front office filled with guys who used to work for the Padres and Boston Red Sox.
“Davey did a great job in the interview process,” general manager Jed Hoyer said Wednesday at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes. “We really enjoyed (getting to know) him. He’s very bright, very hardworking, very well-respected and from the interview process, it sounds like he’s learned a ton being with Joe Maddon. He’s taken a lot from that staff.”
Martinez has been alongside Maddon for an amazing run in Tampa Bay, beginning with the 2008 American League pennant, the first of five seasons with at least 90 wins in the last six years.
With the Cubs not expected to be all-in on the big-ticket items here at the general manager meetings, their new manager will have to develop players as if this was a small-market team.
Hoyer thinks Martinez – who has also interviewed with the Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays across the last few years – has what it takes to run his own show.
“He’ll be a manager really soon in the big leagues,” Hoyer said. “I don’t think there’s any question about that.”