Rangers narrowing down prospects

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, October 13th, 2018

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BY DIC HUMPHREY
DIC.HUMPHREY@YAHOO.COM

ARLINGTON, Texas – The off season is almost two weeks old, and
Ranger fans have heard little about the team’s search for a new
manager to replace the departed Jeff Banister. That’s good news. The
team really doesn’t need the ups and downs of a managerial search
plastered across the sports page.
GM Jon Daniels initially said that the team had compiled a list
of around 40 candidates. The team’s scouts, coaches, front office
personnel often hear comments about current players and coaches
suggesting such people might someday be managerial material. Daniels
said they actually keep a file of these tips, and he reviewed that file shortly
after making the decision to replace Banister. After gathering an
initial candidate list, Daniels indicated they would pare the group
down to around eight and start interviewing.
Rumors started flying this week about names of candidates on that
pared down list. Don Wakamatsu and Jayce Tingler, the interim manager
and bench coach respectively after Banister was let go, are the two
most talked about internal candidates.
Third base coach Tony Beasley and first base coach Steve Buechele have expressed interest in the
job, but at this point neither seems to be a serious candidate.
The idea persists that the Rangers would be extremely interested
in Michael Young for the position. National writer Bob Nightengale
went so far as to Tweet last week that the job was Young’s if he
wanted it. Young has been a special assistant to Daniels for the last
five years, but has no managerial or coaching experience at any level.
So far, Young has shown no interest in the position. He is firmly
planted in the Dallas community having recently completed construction
of a new house in North Dallas, and has his kids (three sons Mateo,
Emilio, and Antonio) enrolled in a private school. The thought is,
with the age of his children; he simply does not want be away from
home to the degree demanded by the manager’s job.
The Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant wrote this week that the
Rangers have done significant due diligence on five candidates outside
the organization. Three are Cleveland first base coach Sandy Alomar,
Jr., AAA El Paso manager Rod Barajas, and MLB Network analyst Mark
DeRosa. All three were Ranger teammates in 2005.
Two more rumored candidates are currently involved in the playoffs – Houston Bench Coach Joe Espada
and Los Angeles Dodgers’ third base coach Chris Woodward.
Thursday night the Twitter universe lit up with more rumors. Three
more names surfaced –Philadelphia’s third base coach Dusty Wathan and
Cubs’ Bench Coach Brandon Hyde. Hyde is said to have already been
interviewed, as have Tingler and Espada. Tingler and Hyde interviewed
in person, while Espada interviewed by phone since he is in Boston for
the Astros’ League Championship Series with the Red Sox. Former Yankees manager
Joe Girardi was in town Friday interviewing as well.
Communication seems to be the theme in what the Rangers are
seeking in their next manager. That was Jeff Banister’s downfall.
Texas has a number of Hispanic players, and it’s no accident that a
number of these rumored serious candidates are Hispanic. What better
way to communicate than in a player’s native language?
It’s amazing too how many baseball managers were catchers in their
playing days. At the start of the 2018 season for example, all five
managers of the American League West’s teams were catchers when they
played – A. J. Hinch, Bob Melvin, Scott Servais, Mike Scioscia and
Banister.
Around half of all the managers in baseball were catchers. Among the
candidates mentioned above; Wakamatsu, Wathan, Alomar, Jr., Barajas
and Hyde were catchers.
Wakamatsu is the only one of these candidates that has managed a
Major League team. All but one of the candidates noted here have
extensive experience managing in the minor leagues and/or coaching
experience at the Major League level. The exception is DeRosa. DeRosa
did interview for the then vacant New York Mets manager position last year.
Tingler is also believed to be a candidate for the vacant Minnesota Twins managerial job.                                                                     The connection there is that the Twins general manager is Thad Levine, who knows Tingler from previously
being on Jon Daniels’ front office staff. The expectation is that Daniels will pare the list down to three
or four finalists. After another round of interviews, he’ll make a selection. The process could well be completed in the next week.      The World Series is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, October 23. Once the Series begins, MLB wants a blackout of announcements such as managerial hires. They want the focus to be on the World Series. The Rangers then either hire a manager before the Series or wait until November. The Rangers want their new manager in place as soon as possible to have his inputs on next year’s roster.
They have scheduled organizational meetings in Surprise, Arizona for
October 22-25, and would like to have their new manager at those
meetings.
This is Daniels’ third managerial search since becoming the
Rangers’ general manager. His first two hires – Ron Washington and
Jeff Banister – were surprises at the time. They were both “thinking
out of the box” hires. It’s likely that Daniels will again think out
of the box and surprise us once more.
NOTABLE:
– Texas is one of six teams looking for a new manager. The other
five are Baltimore, Los Angeles Angels, Toronto, Minnesota and
Cincinnati.
– The Rangers’ 2018 home attendance figure of 2,107,107 ranked 19th
in the Major
Leagues, their lowest ranking since coming in 25th in 2009.
– The new ballpark, Globe Life Field, will have a turf field, not grass.

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