Texas Rangers

Eight have interviewed (so far) to be Rangers manager. Here’s a look at each candidate

Joe Girardi brings the best credentials to the Rangers’ managerial search, with the 2009 World Series during his 10 seasons with the New York Yankees.
Joe Girardi brings the best credentials to the Rangers’ managerial search, with the 2009 World Series during his 10 seasons with the New York Yankees. Special to the Star-Telegram

Just in case there’s a sense that the eight candidates interviewed to replace Jeff Banister don’t check all the boxes the Texas Rangers are seeking in their new manager, general manager Jon Daniels and crew are keeping the phone lines open.

The Rangers, though, interviewed eight in 2014 when seeking Ron Washington’s replacement. That group was then pared to three finalists – Banister, then-Cleveland Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash and interim manager Tim Bogar.

So, a second round of interviews could be coming. The Rangers could do so next week during their pro scouting meetings in Surprise, Ariz., or jam them into the next four days.

Or the search could continue with a few more interviews.

The group that has interviewed is diverse in terms of their culture, their age, their big-league managerial experience and what all they’ve done in the game. Some are candidates for the other five MLB managerial openings.

Here’s a look at each of the eight candidates.

Jayce Tingler

Current job: Rangers assistant GM/coach

Date interviewed: Oct. 9

Born: Nov. 28, 1980

MLB managerial experience: None

Tingler was on the coaching staff of the 2015 and 2016 Rangers teams that won the American League West. He has a background in development, beginning with managerial duties in the Dominican Summer League and with the Arizona rookies. He spent the past two seasons overseeing the minor leagues, so he knows the players coming through to the majors. The players know him. He also speaks Spanish.

Brandon Hyde

Current job: Chicago Cubs bench coach

Date interviewed: Oct. 11

Born: Oct. 3, 1973

MLB managerial experience: None

If Joe Maddon is the best manager in baseball, Hyde has been learning from the best since 2015. Hyde also spent time as the Cubs’ minor-league field coordinator and has been a manager in the minors, so he also comes with development in his background. The Cubs and Rangers seem to have a good working relationship, and Hyde clearly is familiar with new Rangers assistant general manager Shiraz Rehman. He was hired away from the Cubs on Tuesday.

Joe Espada

Current job: Houston Astros bench coach

Date interviewed: Oct. 11 (phone)

Born: Aug. 30, 1975

MLB managerial experience: None

The Astros’ appearance in the AL Championship Series has prevented the Rangers from interviewing Espada in person. But he is in high demand, not unlike Hyde. Espada speaks Spanish, which could work to his advantage, and he was with the Yankees before joining the Astros in the off-season. The Astros said that Espada is a good mix of old-school baseball and analytics, and that fits with the Rangers’ style.

Joe Girardi

Current job: MLB Network analyst

Date interviewed: Oct. 12

Born: Oct. 14, 1964

MLB managerial experience: Florida Marlins, 2006 (78-84); New York Yankees, 2008-2017 (910-710)

By far the most noteworthy candidate, Girardi’s Yankees won the World Series in 2009 and went to the playoffs six times. One of those appearances was in 2017, and the Yankees fired him a few weeks after they just missed going to the World Series. One of the reasons? A disconnect and communication issues with the players, many of them young and developing. That sounds familiar.

David Bell

Current job: San Francisco Giants farm director

Date interviewed: Oct. 15

Born: Sept. 14, 1972

MLB managerial experience: None

Baseball is definitely in Bell’s bloodlines, and so are the Rangers. His father, Buddy, is in the Rangers Hall of Fame. David played in the majors, has managed in the minors, and has coached in the majors. He also has overseen a club’s minor-league operations, and his goal with the Giants as their Vice President of Player Development was to implement analytics and technology throughout their farm system.

Rocco Baldelli

Current job: Tampa Bay Rays field coordinator

Date interviewed: Oct. 15

Born: Sept. 25, 1981

MLB managerial experience: None

The former big-league outfielder is the youngest of the candidates to be interviewed. Injuries conspired to wreck his career, but he quickly found work in the game with the organization that drafted him in the first round of the 2000 draft. Baldelli was the Rays’ first base coach from 2015 to 2017 before moving into a role in which he relayed information to the coaching staff and served as a bridge to the minor-league staffs. He also coached outfielders, and the Rangers’ outfielders could use some coaching up.

Don Wakamatsu

Current job: Rangers interim manager

Date interviewed: Oct. 16

Born: Feb. 22, 1963

MLB managerial experience: Seattle Mariners, 2009-2010 (127-147); Rangers, 2018 (3-7)

Wakamatsu claims that he has grown as a coach since being fired by the Mariners in his second season. He spent time with the Kansas City Royals as their bench coach during their 2014 and 2015 seasons, when they won consecutive American League titles and the 2015 World Series. Wakamatsu said that he saw the end of the Royals’ development process, has learned more about how to manage games, and understands how vital communication with players has become. Rangers players like him.

Dusty Wathan

Current job: Philadelphia Phillies third-base coach

Date interviewed: Oct. 16

Born: Aug. 22, 1973

MLB managerial experience: None

Wathan, the son of former big-leaguer John Wathan, was a finalist for the Phillies job last year before it went to former Rangers outfielder Gabe Kapler. Wathan was the Phillies’ Triple manager at the time but was bumped to the big-league staff after missing out on the managerial job. He has been a successful manager in the minors but is lacking big-league time. His career spanned five at-bats, four more than Banister had. Banister, though, spent several seasons on a big-league coaching staff.

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