With the departure of Ron Washington, it brings up the question of who the next Ranger manager should be. Let’s discus:
Jon Daniels wants a manager hired by Oct. 20, but he can’t actually announce the hiring until after the World Series. With that deadline in mind, lets take a look at some obvious candidates as well as a couple of speculative ones.
Many long time Ranger fans will remember “Boo” from his playing days. He was always a fan favorite but that alone is not really good enough to hand him the keys to the team. He does have experience in the minors and by all reports, he’s well on his way to being a very good coach…I just don’t think he’s ready yet. In fact, I’m fairly certain he’s already been eliminated being that he’s only been given a phone interview.
Maddux is my favorite internal candidate because he’s shown a clear ability to relate to the players by the way he’s handled the once horrendous pitching staff. It doesn’t hurt that he’s the brother of HOF Greg Maddux. I’m sure they’ve talked a lot baseball over the years. The worry I have is that if he doesn’t get the Managers job, will he leave and take a job somewhere else. He’s a hot commodity and I know there are other teams that would love to have him on their staff. His contract is up after the World Series…which may explain JDs sense of urgency. In the end, I don’t think he will get the job…but I don’t think he’ll leave the Rangers either. He’s already publicly endorsed Tim Bogar, which kind of hinders his chances, but he claims that if the Ranger keep Bogar, he would love to come back.
Bogar seems to be the favorite to win the job. Many of the players have already praised his communication skills and JD has made mention of his solid in-game decision making. Both key ingredients in a manger.
But let’s not BS anybody here, JD fired former bench coach Jackie Moore and brought in Bogar for exactly this scenario. JD’s not stupid. He’s heard the cries of Wash critics for the past 3 seasons and knew that he needed a guy that was more of a traditional yet SABR minded guy to be groomed into the next manager. I don’t think he expected it to happen this quickly, but make no mistake about it, he hand selected Bogar without the consent of Ron Washington or Nolan Ryan. Bogar is JDs guy.
I personally would prefer a more seasoned manger, a guy that’s won a WS or at least coached a few playoff teams. BUT, Bogar seems to have all the key ingredients. He’s patient, he’s similar to Wash in terms of communication with the players, he has a sound baseball background, he’s coached under some very good Managers in Joe Maddon and Terry Francona, he’s won a few awards as a minor league manager, and he’s a SABR minded guy…but not so narrow minded that he doesn’t also rely on his instincts. I wasn’t really a fan of his before, but he’s kind of growing on me. I do think it’s his job to lose. In fact, I’d be absolutely shocked if he’s not named the manager.
By rule, the Rangers are required to interview at least 1 minority candidate. For my money, I’d make that Ozzie Guillen. I know he’s a hot head, and yes I know he talks too much, but maybe that’s what the Rangers need. A guy that won’t stand for the status quo. A guy that will ask the tough questions. A guy that may disagree with the all mighty JD. I don’t think there is any way that he gets the job, but I think Guillen would be GREAT for Elvis. Elvis’ new inflated contract starts next season and in order to get the most out of him, I think the Rangers need a guy like Guillen to light a fire under him. They’re both shortstops, they speak the same language, and Guillen won’t let Elvis get away with goofing around all the time like Wash did. Elvis knows he’s a star and has lost a little focus. A guy like Guillen may be just what he needs.
Ron Gardenhire is another candidate that I would interview if it were left up to me. He’s won a manager of the year award, finished 2nd five times, and has won the division six times. He’s definitely got all the experience you could want. I think because of the Twins lack of payroll, he’s also been very good at developing young talent…a skill the Rangers could use. A guy like this that’s coached the same team for a long time probably needs to take a step back from the game for a year or two, but I’d at least give him a call.
The worse season in Texas Rangers history is finally over. Ok, so it’s not the WORSE season ever…only the 5th worse…but it sure felt like it.
The recent success of the Franchise has definitely spoiled some us fans and I think that plays a big role in how we look at this disastrous 2014 season. It started off on shaky ground the moment we found out Derek Holland would be out at least half the season with a bad knee. It never really got any better as the season went on. Martin Perez, Prince Fielder, Mitch Moreland, Geovany Soto, Jurickson Profar, Tanner Scheppers, Alexi Ogando, Matt Harrison, and even Ron Washington all left gapeing holes on this team.
It wasn’t all bad though. We found a couple of ballplayers…guys that can really help this team win a few games. Rougned Odor showed that he can handle playing everyday at the big league level and did so nicely. Being the youngest player in the Majors didn’t seem to be an issue for him and in many ways, he showed some of the promise we were all expecting from Jurickson Profar. I’m a huge Odor fan, and I think no matter what Profar does, it will be difficult for him to pass up Odor at this point.
Robinson Chirinos is another one of those ballplayers that emerged from an otherwise horrendous season. He held is own offensively, but it’s his defense that really impressed me. Considering all the injuries to the pitching staff I felt like Chirinos showed a great deal of comradery with the staff…which is important when trying to set up hitters. Sure, the coaching staff calls most of the pitches, but when a pitcher and catcher are on the same page, the coaches usually let them go with it. Chirinos also threw out 40% of baserunners…the league average is 27%. It’s been a long time since the Rangers have had a catcher that could do that consistently. I think Chirinos is just scratching the surface.
How about Neftali Feliz? He sure looked good once he got his chance to take over the closers role again. I’ve been pretty consistent in saying the Feliz is better suited being a reliever than a starter, and I hope JD and company have finally realized that themselves. I don’t think he’s all the way back yet, but he showed enough to be penciled in as the closer for 2015.
Daniel Robertson, Ryan Rua, Jake Smolinski, Nick Tepesch, Roman Mendez, Lisalverto Bonilla, and Phil Klein all showed some flashes of brilliance. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few of them make the 2015 roster. Roman Mendez looks like the next Ogando or Feliz to me. I’d be surprised if he’s not in the bullpen next season.
So, as we get ready for the offseason by watching the Angles, A’s, O’s and Tigers all duke it out to represent the AL in the World Series, let’s try to forget this season and look forward to 2015. We’ll be back Ranger Fans.