Nats GM Rizzo says new deal for Martinez is ‘priority one’

ATLANTA (AP) — Now that he has a new multiyear contract, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says his top priority is working out a long-term deal for manager Dave Martinez.

The Nationals have a club option for Martinez for 2021. Rizzo said Sunday his preference is “just to disregard that” club option and instead work out a new contract for the manager.

“That’s priority one to get Davey taken care of,” Rizzo said. “My plan is and my preference is to not pick up the option and go well beyond that.”

Rizzo’s multiyear extension was announced by the team on Saturday.

Martinez said Saturday he wants to remain in Washington.

“Mike’s is done. Mine should be coming around the corner pretty soon,” Martinez said when asked about his contract status. “We’ll see what happens.”

Rizzo and Martinez led the Nationals to the 2019 World Series title. This year, Washington is in last place in the NL East.

“Going through what we’re going on the field, it’s kind of hard to celebrate a personal achievement,” Rizzo said, referring to his new contract.

Rizzo said negotiations on his deal began about one week ago.

Asked if he became frustrated the extension did not come sooner, Rizzo said the deal allows those who work around him to relax.

“People run into a little bit of anxiety as you get closer to the end of the season,” he said. “It feels good for everyone around us. Now we can do what we need to do and take care of what we need to for the rest of the season and the offseason.”

Rizzo said he didn’t let his uncertain status affect his work.

“I was never going to mention it to the ownership and never did,” he said. “… They knew I wanted to be here and also knew this negotiation wouldn’t take long once we got into it.”

Negotiations with shortstop Trea Turner may be another priority for Rizzo, who said there were discussions of an extension in spring training.

Turner has a one-year, $7.45 million deal this season. He can be eligible for free agency in 2023.

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