Day Two of the Texas Rangers’ first off-season since 2009 without a postseason appearance produced the dismissal of two coaches from manager Ron Washington’s coaching staff as the club tries to make sure that the playoff omission is just a one-year thing.
Bench coach Jackie Moore and first-base coach Dave Anderson did not have their contracts renewed after the Rangers’ 91-72 season wasn’t good enough to get them into the playoffs for a fourth straight year.
General manager Jon Daniels cautioned that Moore and Anderson, who both joined the staff in 2009 and were a part of 457 wins and two World Series appearances, shouldn’t be viewed as scapegoats for the Rangers’ shortcomings this season.
But they are out as the Rangers look for ways to improve in 2014.
“We value both of these guys and their contributions,” Daniels said. “Ultimately, while we’re proud of winning 91 games, we’re not where we want to be. We’ve got to start making some decisions and lining things up.
“You’re always looking to improve. Our goal is to be a perennial contender and win a championship. These decisions are not fun.”
There is no immediate timetable to fill the vacancies, though Daniels would like to have the replacements in place by the general managers’ meetings in mid-November. External candidates will be considered, but Daniels’ preference is to promote from within the organization.
Double A Frisco manager Steve Buechele could be a candidate for bench coach, and Triple A Round Rock manager Bobby Jones could replace Anderson. Among possible external candidates to be bench coach are Dale Sveum, who was fired as Chicago Cubs manager Monday, and Eric Wedge, who chose not to return as Seattle’s manager.
Previous big-league managerial experience, which Moore and predecessor Art Howe had, is not a prerequisite.
“We’re in the process of putting together a list,” Daniels said. “Everyone’s got to complement each other. We just want to make sure everything is covered. There’s no cookie-cutter deal out there we’re trying to fill. We’re trying to get the best fit for us.”
Daniels and assistant general manager Thad Levine told Moore that he wouldn’t becoming back. Moore, 74, expects to retire after 56 years in the game.
Moore said that he met briefly with Washington after hearing the news, and said that Washington was upset to be losing a friend and trusty assistant. Washington and Moore famously had a post-victory tradition of exchanging a hug, which Washington said he might try to continue it with his new assistant.
“I don’t think any manager and any coaching staff worked harder than we worked to get the results we did,” Moore said. “We not only became very close, but I feel like we accomplished a lot. Two World Series, a playoffs and a game to get in the playoffs. That’s a lot of success for people to be getting fired, isn’t it?”
Said Washington: “Jackie is a family member. Of course, I’m going to miss him. This is not something that we take lightly. My heart is aching. As anything else, I’m a baseball man and we’ll get through it.”
Washington had said on Tuesday morning that he expected to have the 2013 coaches return, but he and Daniels met later in the day to discuss the 2014 staff. The remainder of Washington’s staff — bullpen coach Andy Hawkins, pitching coach Mike Maddux, hitting coach Dave Magadan and third-base coach Gary Pettis — is expected to return.