New Nationals manager Martinez welcomes pressure

Nov 2, 2017 - 9:11 PM New Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez is fine with there being pressure on his club.

In fact, he heaped on his own expectations during his introductory press conference on Thursday by calling the Nationals "one of the better teams in the National League." Martinez's goal is the World Series.

"We're not here just to win a playoff game," Martinez said. "We're here to win the World Series."

The Nationals have been to the playoffs in four of the past six seasons but have never won a playoff series, let alone reach the World Series.

Washington feels it found the guy to get the club over the playoff hurdles in Martinez, who was the bench coach on the Chicago Cubs' 2016 World Series championship team.

"This is the man who had a lot to do with developing cultures in very, very analytically based and winning organizations," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "His resume is impeccable."

Martinez spent 16 seasons as a major league player through 2001 and landed a coaching stint with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008. He was with the Rays until following Joe Maddon to Chicago for the 2015 campaign.

He is one of three Latino managers in the majors, along with Rick Renteria of the Chicago White Sox, and recently hired Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox.

"It's gratifying," Martinez said. "There's a lot of good Latin personnel out in baseball, coaching, in the front office, and it's nice to be recognized. But I really believe I'm here because of my merit, not because of any race or anything like that."

This was Martinez's second chance to get hired by the Nationals. He interviewed in 2013 to replace Davey Johnson but Washington instead opted for Matt Williams. This time, he was chosen over candidates such as former Red Sox manager John Farrell and New York Mets hitting coach Kevin Long to be the replacement for the fired Dusty Baker.

"He has four years more of knowledge about being next to the manager," Rizzo said of Martinez. "He was much more confident in what he brings to the table, rather than four years ago, a lot of it was about the process of 'Joe and myself, Joe and myself.' And this was about how he does things, and how he's going to do it, and how he would do it moving forward.

"He took a greater role when he was with the Cubs. Joe Maddon, who I spoke to many, many times about this, he called him his co-manager."

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