WASHINGTON – Now that they're both with the Washington Nationals, Kyle Schwarber recalls joking around with Dave Martinez when both were with the Chicago Cubs — Schwarber a slugger, Martinez a bench coach.
“He goes, ‘Whenever I get a manager’s job, you are going to come over, and you are going to play for me,'” Schwarber recounted. “And now it’s come to fruition.”
The power-hitting outfielder who had a big 2019 and a disappointing 2020 signed a one-year contract with Washington for 2021 that guarantees him $10 million, and Schwarber said Saturday his relationship with current Nationals skipper Martinez was “a big factor.”
“Davey was a huge influence on me in baseball,” Schwarber said, noting that Martinez helped him make the transition from catcher to outfielder in Chicago.
“I love him. I’m so excited to be playing for this guy. I know he’s a baseball guy. He cares about his players,” Schwarber said. “He loves winning. He only wants to win.”
Schwarber will make $7 million this season and the contract includes a mutual option for 2022 that would be worth $11.5 million if exercised or guarantee a $3 million buyout if not.
Schwarber was able to sign with any club after becoming a free agent last month when he was non-tendered by the Cubs. He was a member of their drought-ending 2016 World Series championship team — and Martinez was on then-manager Joe Maddon's staff at the time — hitting .412 in the Fall Classic after missing much of that season with an injured left knee.
He was taken by Chicago with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 amateur draft and has proven to deliver homers and strikeouts in bunches.