The Texas Rangers might or might not be resuming interviews for their managerial vacancy Monday.
General manager Jon Daniels goes into stealth mode during times like this, just as he does at the winter meetings and the trade deadline. He believes that gives him the best chance to be successful in running the Rangers, and that’s fine.
But, so far, sources have confirmed that the Rangers have interviewed four candidates, with former New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi taking his turn Friday at Globe Life Park.
A source also said that the Rangers have already interviewed assistant GM Jayce Tingler, Chicago Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde and Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada, albeit by phone.
Don Wakamatsu, who finished the season as the interim manager after Jeff Banister was fired Sept. 21, is expected to interview early next week.
Others (Sandy Alomar Jr., Mark DeRosa, Chris Woodward, Rod Barajas) have been reported to be of interest. That doesn’t guarantee they will be interviewed, but all of them meet some of the prerequisites that the Rangers are thought to seeking.
Four speak Spanish. Six are former MLB players. Three are former Rangers teammates. Most have development in their coaching backgrounds. A couple work for teams that rely heavily on analytics.
They all better be able to communicate well.
Missing from the list, though, is a former manager who would fit like a glove, as he did after the 2006 season when the Rangers hired him to replace Buck Showalter.
That’s right: Ron Washington.
Former player? Check. Development? Check. Analytics? Surprisingly, check. Communication? Check.
Spanish? Washington, the Rangers’ all-time leader in managerial victories, is fluent in baseball.
Daniels has never been shy about putting the band back together. Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli (twice) come to mind. Michael Young, an assistant to Daniels, counts even after their past spats.
(Daniels wants to hire Young for this opening. Banister wanted Young to be the hitting coach in 2015 and 2016. He’ll stay retired from full-time work for now.)
Washington hasn’t been in exile since he abruptly left the Rangers in September 2014. He went home to the Oakland A’s in 2015 and 2016, and moved along to the Atlanta Braves in 2017.
Both teams were in the postseason this year, and both have Washington’s fingerprints on them.
A’s third baseman Matt Chapman, the front-runner to win the Gold Glove this year, and first baseman Matt Olson, another steady glove, attended the School of Wash. Marcus Semien evolved from a wild-throwing shortstop to a capable defender after only a few months of infield school.
Across the country, the Braves’ infielders were collectively among the least error-prone in baseball this season. Second baseman Ozzie Albies was a first-half MVP candidate before fading after the All-Star break, but while his bat faded, his defense didn’t.
At 66, Washington worked daily and enthusiastically with whoever wanted to show up.
And, it’s worth saying again, both the A’s and the Braves were in the postseason this year. Washington develops winning players.
The Rangers need to develop winning players.
Someone get Washington on the phone. Right?
The chances of him becoming the manager after the way he departed, suddenly and under a cloud of secrecy that he eventually revealed to be an extramarital affair, would likely keep Daniels from giving the job back to Washington.
Then again, if any GM in baseball could get away with it, it’s Daniels. He signed a multi-year extension in June, and recent past shows that ownership tells him yes far more than it does no.
Maybe the manager opening is a no-go for the owners. Would they say no to adding Washington to the coaching staff?
They might not. The Braves, though, might tell the Rangers no.
Teams must ask permission when attempting to pry away a team’s coach, and the Braves could very well not grant it to the Rangers because Washington would be making a lateral move.
On the other hand, a chance to interview for a managerial post would be a yes.
Is this Washington-as-manager talk far-fetched? Probably also a yes.
But, considering the Rangers’ need at manager, there’s no denying that Washington is what is a fit.