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2017 Cubs Spring Training Countdown: Day 4

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The Cubs’ bench coach: someone we don’t hear much about.

Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Dave Martinez has been a bench coach for Joe Maddon for nine seasons: 2008-14 with the Rays, and the last two years with the Cubs.

Over that time, Martinez has been connected with managerial openings with the Dodgers, Rockies, Indians, Astros, Blue Jays, Rays (when Maddon left) and... Cubs. Theo Epstein interviewed Martinez for the open Cubs managerial spot that eventually went to Rick Renteria.

Which raises the question: What’s up with this? Why is Martinez well-regarded as a bench coach, enough that he gets interviewed for numerous openings but never gets the job?

It could be a matter of timing or money or... well, some people just wind up not suited for a particular role. It could be that Martinez’ personality works better in a supporting role to a manager rather than have the full managing job himself.

Martinez is 52 and has been a major-league coach or spring-training instructor for 11 seasons. You’d think that if he were to get a managing gig, it’d have to be within the next year or two or it might be too late for him. On the other hand, Maddon was a major-league coach for 11 seasons and a bench coach (under Mike Scioscia) for six years before he got his first full-time managing job in Tampa Bay at age ... 52.

If Martinez does leave the Cubs, I know who I’d like to see replace him: David Ross. I think Ross would make an excellent bench coach, and eventually, I’d love to see him become the Cubs’ manager.

Not for a while, though. Joe Maddon has three more years (including 2017) remaining on his contract, and I surely wouldn’t mind seeing Joe extended for a couple more years after that. He’s the Cubs’ best manager since Joe McCarthy, and that’s more than 85 years ago.