The Texas Rangers need a new manager after firing Chris Woodward on Monday. What are they looking for? Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?
Texas President Jon Daniels said Monday after Woodward left and this year’s club was never meant to be “championship ready.” But Rangers have also said their goal is to have a team that can compete in 2023. General manager Chris Young said part of the reasoning for firing Woodward now was to start that process.
The Rangers’ last three full-time executive hires were all rookies — Ron Washington, Jeff Banister and Chris Woodward. The last time Texas went the experienced route was Buck Showalter, who was hired in 2003 and lasted four seasons and never made the playoffs.
Texas’ ambitions to return to the playoffs could color the managerial search. For now, here are six names to watch as Rangers start looking for a new skipper. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list and other names will surface, especially as other management changes are made. But these six names seem like a logical start.
Acting Manager Tony Beasley
Monday was Beasley’s first game as a Major League manager. One might be inclined to exclude it. But dig into his history as a manager and you’ll find someone who deserves a chance. He was 590-472 in eight minor league seasons as a manager, was named Baseball America Manager of the Year twice and led his teams to six league championships or playoff appearances. The level of respect for Beasley, a cancer survivor and Rangers coach since 2015, is out of this world among players and team staff. If an internal candidate gets the job, it will be Beasley.
Ron Washington, Atlanta Braves coach
Rangers could do much worse than rehire the manager who led them to back-to-back World Series in 2011 and 2011, and had a career record of 664-611. He has more wins than any coach in Rangers history and he earned a ring last season as Braves coach. A former manager coming back to get the same job with his old team? Sometimes that’s how baseball is, isn’t it? He will be the fans’ choice, that’s for sure. In fact, one fan started a “We Want Wash” chant during Monday’s, say, sparsely populated game with Oakland.
Bochy left the Giants managerial position after the 2019 season with three World Series rings. More importantly, he guided the Giants to those titles by guiding a young team through its tough times of talent storage and its peak. That makes him a quality candidate for the Rangers, who have a stocked farm system and a willingness to go out and get some starting pitches this offseason. Bochy is 67, so the question is whether he wants to return to the game.
The Angels fired him earlier this season, but his credentials as a team builder in Tampa Bay are still attractive. He guided a young Rays team to the 2008 World Series and kept them relevant for several years thereafter. With the Cubs, he helped them break the “goat curse” in 2016 and win the franchise’s first World Series in more than a century. Things haven’t worked out with the Angels, but the nascent Rangers farm system is far better equipped for a Maddon-style manager. He has won over 1,300 matches. Age is an issue with Maddon. At 68, is the wine lover ready for one more ride or ready to relax full time?
Minnesota Twins coach Jayce Tingler
A retread tire with a Rangers connection. Tingler spent over a decade with Rangers as a minor league coach and later as a coach under Banister and Woodward. The Padres hired him in 2020 and in two seasons he won over 100 games and got the Padres in the 2020 playoffs. He will have to answer questions about the Padres’ collapse in 2021, but he has restored his reputation with the Twins, who are in the midst of a run in American League Central.
Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada
Rangers took a look at Espada during the search that led them to hire Woodward. Now he has another four years of bench coaching experience and worked with one of the biggest names in baseball management in Dusty Baker. He’s also been interviewed with the Cubs and Mets, and it looks like he could finally be called up this season. What better way to hurt your rival down south than to steal their most respected trainer?
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard
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