Zimmerman: What do you want Davey to do right now?

Chris Lingebach
May 09, 2019 - 3:28 pm
Ryan Zimmerman: What do you want Dave Martinez to do right now?

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The elder statesman of the Nationals clubhouse has come to the defense of manager Davey Martinez, who's facing intense public scrutiny from the fanbase for the club's 14-22 record, their worst start to a season since 2009, when the Nationals lost 103 games.

"I've always said fans have the right to say whatever they want," Ryan Zimmerman told 106.7  The Fan's Grant & Danny Thursday. "These are the guys and girls that pay for tickets. They spend their hard-earned money to be fans of our team, and when we don't win, they should rightfully be upset. There's nothing wrong with that.

"My only question would be: What do you want him to do right now?"

The Nationals, currently without three Opening Day starters, have been severely snake-bitten with injuries. Trea Turner, Ryan Zimmerman and Juan Soto are all on the Injured List, as is Matt Adams. Anthony Rendon has finally returned to the lineup after missing 14 games with a left elbow contusion. That's resulted in fewer runs scored as the Nationals' bullpen continues to struggle to stabilize itself.

"I mean, we've pretty much used everyone on our 40-man," Zimmerman said in further defense of Martinez. "You can only do so many things."

"I've had this conversation with you guys before as well," he said. "I think it's always easiest to blame the manager, blame the hitting coach or the pitching coach. And sometimes it's rightfully so, but they're also the most dispensable and easiest to get rid of."

"I think at the end of the day," he continued, "it comes down to the players play, and they're supposed to play like they get paid to, and I think throughout the full year, most of us will end up being at our numbers.

"But you can't say, 'Oh, it's early,' or 'oh, this' or 'oh, that.' I think there's a legit time right now where everyone needs to look in the mirror -- myself included, and everyone on the team included, all the way up to the front office -- and kind of say, 'This is my job, and from here on out, this is what I need to do.'"

"Injuries are always a part of it," he said. "I have to say, this is a pretty bad stretch we're going through right now, so there's not much Davey can do. I mean, you can say whatever you want about last year, but as far as this year, I would just ask those fans: What would you want him to do differently that he hasn't done with the personnel that he's been given?"

"We've put ourselves in a position where we're gonna have to make some kind of crazy run," Zimmerman acknowledged. "The good thing is, if we get healthy and we get back on the field, I think we have the team to do it. It's not early, but it's not after the All-Star break either, so you can definitely make up some ground.

"The other plus is nobody in our division is really 10 or 12 games over .500. I mean, we're not right there, but it could be a lot worse than it is."

The Nats picked a curious time to sacrifice their pitching coach to the scrap heap last week. By firing Derek Lilliquist just before the start of a brutal 10-game road trip – all winning ball clubs – Washington assured only a winning mark against the Phillies, Brewers and Dodgers would keep the wolves at bay upon their return to Washington. They're 1-5 on this trip so far.

"We're struggling, and I feel bad not being there with the guys, but we'll come through, we'll keep going," Zimmerman assured. "Just got to stay positive as much as you can and keep grinding it out. And we gotta kind of think maybe at the end of the season, when something special happens, we'll look back at this and think of it as one of the craziest years we've ever had."

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