Tim Bogar is still standing in the race to be the next manager of the Texas Rangers, but he has company as general manager Jon Daniels searches for a full-time replacement for Ron Washington.
Bogar, the Rangers’ bench coach who was named interim manager after Washington resigned Sept. 5, is one of three finalists for the job along with Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister and Cleveland Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash.
The Rangers announced Tuesday that their list of candidates has been trimmed from eight to three. Bogar is still considered the front-runner, though Banister and Cash have closed the gap.
The Rangers did not make any comment about the process going forward, though Daniels expects the new manager to be in place no later than Friday. The club did not confirm whether there would be a second round of interviews, though sources indicated that Banister and Cash could have another meeting with Rangers officials.
Bogar will not, one of the sources said. That shouldn’t be considered a knock against his chances, as Daniels and his staff know all they need to know about Bogar after being in steady contact the past month and throughout the search.
Questions remain about the other two, both of whom have spent time on the coaching staffs of managers respected by the Rangers.
Banister, an Oklahoma native who lives in League City near Houston, has spent all 29 years of his baseball career in the Pirates organization. He overcame cancer in his leg in high school and a home-plate collision as a catcher in college that left him temporarily paralyzed to make it to the majors for one at-bat. He singled.
Banister, 49, has served the past four years as bench coach to Clint Hurdle, the Rangers’ hitting coach in 2010 and the manager in Colorado when Daniels, assistant GM Thad Levine and director of baseball operations Matt Vinnola worked in the Rockies organization.
Hurdle, who also managed Bogar in the minor leagues, said that Banister has taken to the Pirates’ philosophy of including everyone in the baseball process. That could be his biggest asset as Daniels looks to forge a partnership with the Rangers’ next manager.
“He is cut from a cloth that would be a benefit to any organization,” Hurdle said. “He has a physical presence. He has communication skills. He has game skills.
“He is aligned with the importance of statistical analysis in today’s game. He is aligned with the importance of player development and making sure there’s inclusion of the minor league system with the big league club. There’s inclusion with the scouts.”
Cash, 36, would become the youngest manager in the majors if hired by the Rangers. Also a former catcher, he has been a big league coach for only the past two seasons in Cleveland under his former manager Terry Francona.
Bogar also coached under Francona, who is held in high regard by the Rangers’ front office.
“He was awesome as a player,” said Indians outfielder David Murphy, who was a teammate of Cash’s in 2007 at Triple A Pawtucket. “One thing that speaks very highly of him is that he was able to get a big league coaching job so quickly after he got done playing, and on Terry Francona’s staff.
“If Terry Francona sees something special in you, you’ve got to have something going for you.”
The question Daniels has to answer is whether Banister or Cash offers more than Bogar, who was hired last October to be Washington’s bench coach.
Bogar declined comment on his status, but he has the support of the players who went 14-8 under him to close the season. If given the job, he would likely keep pitching coach Mike Maddux on staff.
Maddux, one of the five candidates who was not named a finalist, went to the instructional league in Surprise, Ariz., on Oct. 2 and spent four days working with young pitchers, even though his contract expires at the end of the month.
“My commitment to the Rangers organization and the players has never wavered,” said Maddux, who has not been given permission to look outside the organization for another job.