Texas Rangers

Miffed at Daniels for firing Banister? Rangers players don’t appear to be

Interim manager Don Wakamatsu had to take the ball Saturday night from Mike Minor in the fifth inning, even though the left-hander opened with four scoreless frames in an eventual 13-0 loss.
Interim manager Don Wakamatsu had to take the ball Saturday night from Mike Minor in the fifth inning, even though the left-hander opened with four scoreless frames in an eventual 13-0 loss. The Associated Press

The most stunning aspect of the Texas Rangers’ victory Friday night is that it came in the first rain-shortened game in Globe Life Park history.

File that one under Strange but True, especially with how much it can rain at one time in the Metroplex.

By first pitch Saturday, though, the field was in tip-top condition. That’s a credit to Dennis Klein and his crew of groundskeepers, whose jobs are going to get easier once the place across the street is built thanks to the retractable roof.

Their jobs will get a lot easier if the Rangers go with artificial turf instead of grass.

There is no Rangers Reaction from the 13-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners. Mike Minor ran out of gas in the fifth, and the Rangers’ offense had no gas in its tank.

But here’s some Rangers Reaction from the past few days.

1. A quick look at the ol’ Twitter mentions reinforced a few things:

A. A lot of people didn’t actually read stories on Jeff Banister’s demise, just the headlines.

B. Nothing written or said will change the opinion on Jon Daniels of some of those who did read the stories.

Yes, the general manager put the 2017 and 2018 teams together, one with the biggest payroll in club history. He even traded away the prospects and left the cupboard bare, leading to a rebuild.

However, what happened Friday with Banister didn’t have to do with wins and losses. It was about Banister losing the players, and it didn’t just happen this season or last season.

Some say it goes back to Banister’s first season.

It was written in the Star-Telegram not once, but twice, and other outlets multiple times, too.

The move needed to be made. For those who don’t believe Daniels, believe the players.

They were surprised that he was gassed with 10 games to go, but the clubhouse wasn’t somber. Other than a horde of media being there, everything seemed to be business as normal.

The players didn’t seem all that upset. They weren’t saying they should have done better and that it was their fault.

They were expecting a change.

Daniels can’t miss on the new manager, but he didn’t exactly miss on the two he has hired. Ron Washington and Banister have four division titles, two American League titles and five playoff appearances between them.

Are the Rangers going to be a playoff of team in 2019? Not likely.

Is that part of the plan? Yes.

Is Daniels the worst general manager in Rangers history, as one reader said? No.

Does he need to be better at his job? Sure. Who with the Rangers doesn’t have room to improve?

He knows that.

2. Don Wakamatsu had some news on his second day as interim manager:

Martin Perez will make two more starts this season, the first coming Sunday in the Rangers’ final home game of the season. It’s an unexpected U-turn in the Rangers’ thinking, but one that came about Wednesday night. In other words, 36 hours before Banister was fired.

Daniels said about 10 days ago that the door wasn’t closed on Perez returning 2019 as a starting pitcher after flourishing in his trial as a reliever. It would have to be on the Rangers’ terms instead of the $7.5 million club option, and Perez would be open to that.

Adrian Beltre will be allowed to play as often as he wants down the stretch, though Wakamatsu said that the third baseman will likely be off Monday to open a seven-game road trip. Most of the veterans and regulars will play the majority of the remaining games, including Joey Gallo as he chases 40 homers.

“We talked a little bit about, we want to finish strong and leave a positive note on the season going into next year,” Wakamatsu said. “I’m not going to just turn it over to the young kids.”

Assistant GM Jayce Tingler, who was the Rangers’ big-league field coordinator in 2015 and 2016, has taken over a bench coach. Tingler has spent the past two seasons focused on the farm system. Wakamatsu will be a candidate to replace Banister, and Tingler’s name has popped up, too.

3. The Star-Telegram’s entire full-time baseball staff (me) put together a list of candidates to be the next Rangers manager, and a lot of them are pure speculation. Some of their names have been mentioned around Globe Life Park.

Here are a few others:

Steve Buechele interviewed in 2014 to replace Washington and has been a loyal member of the coaching staff. He said he would like to be considered for the job, and he should be. He spent several seasons as a manager in the minors and has good relationships with the players.

Jason Wood has logged eight straight seasons as a manager in the Rangers’ system, the last four at Triple A Round Rock. He knows what’s in the farm system and has relationships with most of the young players on the Rangers’ roster and more who are coming. Granted, he didn’t have much to work with this season, but he gets his hands on a lot of players at spring training.

Joe McEwing also interviewed in 2014 and left a favorable impression. He has been with the Chicago White Sox as third-base coach or bench coach since 2012 and has managerial experience in the minors. The White Sox are in a total tear-down rebuild mode, so McEwing would be under no false illusions. He might even think of the Rangers’ job as an upgrade.

Sandy Alomar Jr. played for the Rangers during his 20-season career and has been working under Terry Francona with the Cleveland Indians the past six seasons. The Francona coaching tree has many strong, healthy branches, and maybe Alomar would be the next one to grow.

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