Why Craig Heist expects Nats to 'ride it out' with Dave Martinez

Chris Lingebach
May 09, 2019 - 7:49 pm

The number of Nationals fans calling for manager Dave Martinez's job is deafening.

Fourth in the NL East, the Nats are seven games off the pace after dropping 14 of their last 19 games and don't appear to be stemming the tide. Washington is 1-5 on their current road trip, which has already gone through Philadelphia and Milwaukee and, beginning Thursday night, goes through Los Angeles for four games with the NL West-leading Dodgers.

But 106.7 The Fan's Craig Heist, who's covered the Nationals since they arrived in Washington, doesn't foresee the organization making a change in the dugout, not even if the Nats get swept by the Dodgers.

In a Thursday appearance with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier, Heist was posed with that precise scenario, asked if Martinez might survive the trip even after a second consecutive series sweep.

"What say you?" he was asked.

"Well, what say me is that if that happens, I think the Lerners would have to admit they made a mistake," Heist said. "And you gotta go back to all the way at the end of the season a couple years ago when they lost in the playoffs to the Cubs. It looked like Mike Rizzo telling all of us sitting on the warning track outside the Nats dugout that the Nationals were very close to getting a deal done with Dusty.

"And then after they lost that fifth game a couple of days later, it was determined that Dusty wasn't coming back. And I don't necessarily think that was Mike. I think that was more up above and they would have to admit that they made a mistake. And then the question is, well, if it's not Davey, where do you go from here when you're not quite two months into this season?"

"I don't think that's gonna happen," he said. "At least not yet."

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Heist was asked if there's any reason to believe the Nats go outside the organization to hire an experienced manager – the likes of a Joe Girardi or Buck Showalter – in season.

"Well, there's a reason to think that, because that would be the obvious choices right now," he said. "But I think we know from past experience that when it comes down to really paying the managers, that's not going to happen with this organization, so I don't see it happening. To me, that's the short answer."

"It hasn't happened yet," Rouhier pointed out, saying the same could be said of Ted Leonsis before he went out and paid Scott Brooks handsomely to coach the Wizards. Could the Lerners have finally learned the same lesson?

"It's possible," Heist said. "But I don't see it happening just because of the track record. You mention the Wizards, and then they go out and pay Scott Brooks. The bottom line was it was still Ernie Grunfeld putting this roster together. Now you can certainly look at what the Wizards went through with injuries.

"Well, certainly the Nationals are going through that now. There's a lot of that, but Mike Rizzo put this bullpen together, and there's certainly people that haven't been able to stay healthy. But I just don't see it happening."

"I think they're gonna ride it out," he said. "I mean, let's face it. This division – I'll say it once, I'll say it again – I think 90 wins is probably gonna get it done. Now you're looking at, for the Nationals to win 90 games, they're probably going to have to play close to .600 ball the rest of the way. Is that doable? Yeah. But it's not doable with the way they're playing it right now."

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