General manager Jon Daniels, his band of merry lieutenants and a team of scouts will leave the Texas Rangers’ annual pro-scouting meetings Friday still not certain who will be the team’s next manager.
The search is ongoing, with more candidates interviewed this week after it appeared the Rangers would select from a group of eight they had already interviewed. More could become candidates, Daniels said.
Three of the original candidates – David Bell, hired by the Cincinnati Reds; Rocco Baldelli, hired by the Minnesota Twins; and Joe Girardi, who will be a TV analyst again next year – have been eliminated.
Daniels said on Wednesday that the Rangers’ search will stretch into next week. There is some speculation that next week will end with the Rangers still looking to hire Jeff Banister’s replacement.
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In the meantime, it looks to some that those interviewed previously are flawed candidates.
And that Daniels and his staff might not know exactly what they want.
And that the manager’s job, as is the case across baseball, isn’t as valued by the Rangers as it once was.
At least one of those three is accurate.
But the delay, Daniels said, isn’t a delay. It’s a quest, a quest to hire the right person.
That’s what Daniels said Monday and again Wednesday.
The candidates who were interviewed Oct. 9-17 all piqued the interest, in one way or another, of Daniels and others making the hire. It’s also entirely possible that one of those remaining five ultimately gets the job.
Daniels also said that Monday and again Wednesday.
Eric Chavez, the former big-league third baseman, interviewed Wednesday at the Surprise Recreation Campus, and Daniels said that at least one other has interviewed this week.
It could be Joe Espada, the Houston Astros bench coach who had only interviewed via phone before the Astros were eliminated from the postseason. A source who said that Stubby Clapp had been through multiple phone interviews but was not sure if he has interviewed in person.
Others potentially on the radar are Chris Woodward, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ third-base coach, and Ron Roenicke, the Boston Red Sox’s bench coach. They’re a little busy right now, for at least two more World Series games.
The soonest the World Series could end is Saturday. If a seventh game is needed, the World Series would end on Halloween. The general manager meetings are Nov. 5-8.
The search for the right manager might endure two more weeks.
What does the right manager look like? Daniels hasn’t said.
In 2006 it looked like Ron Washington. In 2014 it looked like Banister. Both had no big-league managerial experience.
One trait a manager needs is the ability to juggle egos. He manages personalities as much as baseball games, and managing baseball games isn’t what it used to be with front offices and numbers-crunchers more and more involved filling out a lineup card and managing a bullpen.
A manager who is open to receiving that input, who has embraced analytics, and who is ready to lose in 2019 would seem to have a leg up.
That might be Chavez. It could be one of the five remaining initial candidates – Espada, Rangers interim manager Don Wakamatsu, Rangers executive/coach Jayce Tingler, Chicago Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde and Philadelphia Phillies third-base coach Dusty Wathan.
Or someone else entirely.
This is a quest, a quest to hire the right person, Daniels keeps saying, even though it looks to some like indecisiveness or dissatisfaction with the pool of candidates.