As the Washington Nationals remain for sale, ownership is taking steps to keep the architects of their 2019 World Series championship team.
The Nationals have signed manager Davey Martinez to a two-year contract extension and general manager Mike Rizzo also is close to a new deal, according to sources briefed on the discussions.
Martinez, 58, also is getting a club option for a third year. Rizzo, 62, is expected to sign a deal of similar length. Both are completing the option years on their current agreements.
Martinez and Rizzo did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Nationals, in the third year of their rebuild, are showing considerable progress. They are 23-14 since opening the season 34-54, and currently on a 12-5 roll. Baseball America recently ranked their farm system the eighth-best in the game.
Martinez is 378-455 (.454) since becoming the team’s manager in 2018. During his tenure, the Nationals have lost Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon to free agency and traded Max Scherzer, Trea Turner and Juan Soto.
In 2019, when all of those players but Harper were still with the club, the Nationals rallied from a 19-31 start to reach the postseason as a wild-card team. They then beat the Brewers in the wild-card game and eliminated the Dodgers, Cardinals and Astros in succession to win the World Series.
Rizzo, through trades and the draft, is trying to return the Nationals to a position of prominence. Outfielder Dylan Crews, the second overall pick in the most recent amateur draft, already has reached Double A and is the No. 6 overall prospect in the sport, according to The Athletic’s Keith Law. Outfielder James Wood, acquired from the Padres in the Soto trade, is No. 20. Third baseman Brady House, the 11th overall selection in 2021, is No. 30.
The Lerner family, led by managing principal owner Mark Lerner, began exploring selling the Nationals in April 2022. The recent settlement of part of the dispute between the Orioles and Nationals over TV rights fees could accelerate the Nationals’ sale process. A group led by Washington Wizards, Capitals and Mystics owner Ted Leonsis is considered the front-runner to buy the team.
(Top photo of Davey Martinez: Rob Carr / Getty Images)