A source on Wednesday identified three potential candidates in addition to Don Wakamatsu to be the next full-time manager of the Texas Rangers, and also said that the list could grow.
Cleveland Indians first-base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. and Rangers assistant general manager Jayce Tingler are on the list, a second source said, and Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada could interview for the vacancy created when Jeff Banister was fired last month with 10 games remaining in the 2018 season.
A third baseball source confirmed that the list of candidates had not been finalized. Wakamatsu, who finished the season as interim manager, is the only candidate who has been confirmed by general manager Jon Daniels.
The Astros eliminated the Indians from the postseason Tuesday, freeing up Alomar to interview. He played for the Rangers in 2005 and is a Dallas resident, but he is also believed to be a candidate for a few of the other five MLB managerial vacancies.
The same goes for Espada, who joined the Astros in the off-season to replace Alex Cora after he was hired by the Boston Red Sox. The Astros and Red Sox will open the American League Championship Series on Saturday.
Tingler has been in the Rangers’ organization for 12 years. His focus the past few seasons has been on the minor leagues after spending the 2015 season as the field coordinator on Banister’s staff.
Alomar, Espada and Tingler each speaks Spanish, a characteristic that might be an advantage when dealing with a Rangers roster that has many of its players from Latin America. Many of their top prospects are also from Latin America.
Daniels said last week that he doesn’t have a blueprint for the next manager, even though the trend across baseball is to hire recently retired players who understand what players might be going through each day.
“We’re looking for someone who will help us create an environment where people thrive in what they do,” Daniels said. “This job is managing people, personalities, egos, developing relationships to where you can get through to them on a variety of different levels.
“Some of the questions that you folks have raised a little bit are, ‘Are you looking for somebody older? Somebody younger? More analytically driven? More traditional development-driven? I don’t think there is a cut-and-dry answer to that.”
Shortstop Elvis Andrus said on the final day of the season that the new manager must be a good communicator. That became a knock against Banister, and what prompted Daniels to say “a different voice was needed” after the 2015 AL Manager of the Year was fired Sept. 21.
“I don’t how it’s going to end up, if Wak is coming back next year or if they’re bringing in somebody new,” Andrus said. “We do need somebody to lead us. We need a manager that understands and can communicate well with us. Especially with young teams, that’s not easy. You need a teacher pretty much.”