The World Series has been come to a close with the Boston Red Sox world champions again after taking out the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games.
Next up is the off-season, though 28 teams have been in that mode for at least a week. Seven of those have some extra 2019 prep work, either looking for a new manager, a new general manager or both in one case.
The Texas Rangers were one of six with a managerial opening, and are now one of two clubs still looking. General manager Jon Daniels said last week that the search would stretch into this week, and it could go longer.
While that remains the main order of business for the Rangers, much will happen this week and in the first two weeks of November.
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Here’s a look at the Rangers’ to-do list:
More managerial work
The Rangers have interviewed at least nine candidates as they look for Jeff Banister’s replacement. Six of those remain, and a few more could be added now that the Fall Classic is over.
Dodgers third-base coach Chris Woodward and Red Sox bench coach Ron Roenicke could be interviewed this week. They would join Eric Chavez in a second group of candidates after eight interviewed from Oct. 9-17.
Rangers interim manager Don Wakamatsu, Rangers executive/coach Jayce Tingler, Chicago Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde, Houston Astros coach Joe Espada and Philadelphia Phillies third-base coach Dusty Wathan are also still under consideration.
Joe Girardi (TV analyst), David Bell (hired by Cincinnati) and Rocco Baldelli (hired by Minnesota) are no longer in the running.
Coaches in limbo
The Rangers have already seen hitting coach Anthony Iapoce take the same post with the Cubs, and they didn’t keep assistant hitting coach Justin Mashore.
But that leaves pitching coach Doug Brocail, bullpen coach Dan Warthen, first-base coach Steve Buechele and third-base coach Tony Beasley waiting for word on the new manager’s plans or for another team to come calling.
It’s an unenviable position and one that gives Daniels the upper hand in bringing them back. If they don’t have any job offers, they don’t have much negotiating power for their 2019 salaries.
As for the hitting coach, Daniels said that he would want to let the new manager make that hire but might have to strike quickly if the market dictates it. The Rangers aren’t the only team looking for a hitting coach.
Running the option
Four players will soon learn if the club options their 2018 teams hold for next season will be exercised. It’s pretty obvious how this will play out for the Rangers.
Catcher Robinson Chirinos, who is headed to Japan along with reliever Chris Martin as part of the MLB Japan All-Star Series, will have his $2,375,000 option picked up. Doug Fister ($4.5 million) and Matt Moore ($10 million) will receive buyouts.
Left-hander Martin Perez is the only one with any shred of doubt, and there’s not much of that. The Rangers are expected to turn down the $7.5 million option but consider re-signing Perez for less.
Shortstop Elvis Andrus holds the ability to opt out of his eight-year contract but is expected to remain after a broken arm April 11 limited him to 97 games. A season after launching a career-high 20 home runs, Andrus hit only six homers.
Andrus must declare his intentions Wednesday.
To extend or not to extend?
The Rangers have one player headed to free agency who might be worth extending the $17.9 million qualifying offer. It’s Adrian Beltre.
Daniels, though, said last week that the Rangers might not offer Beltre because it would put him in a difficult position. He’s contemplating retirement, and to put the Nov. 12 deadline on him for decide on the qualifying offer just isn’t necessary.
Free agency under way
With the final out of the World Series, players who were headed to free agency became free agents. They have five days to negotiate exclusively with their 2018 teams before getting the green light Saturday to sign wherever they want.
Beltre and right-handers Bartolo Colon, Yovani Gallardo and Tony Barnette are free agents. Fister, Moore and Perez are headed that way. The Rangers have other roster decisions to make that could lead to others hitting the open market.
The Rangers know that they must dive into free agency to fill out their starting rotation for 2019, but Daniels has already said that the Rangers will again be shopping on the clearance racks.
That means no Dallas Keuchel or Patrick Corbin, and definitely no Clayton Kershaw should he opt out of his Dodgers mega-contract. The Rangers don’t need any position players, so Bryce Harper and Manny Machado won’t be getting a call from Daniels.
The Rangers will also consider trading for help, and those conversations could pick up in earnest Nov. 5-8 at the annual general managers meetings.