The Rangers were in an impossible situation Friday when their manager quit, yet their GM handled the questions fine with the exception of three.
1. Did J.D. think Ron Washington would have quit if the team had a winning record?
2. Was J.D. personally let down by Washington?
3. Was J.D.’s relationship good with Wash?
The answers to those questions on Friday should have been a swift “Yes,” “No,” and “It’s solid.”
J.D. paused, stumbled and was wishy-washy on all three before commenting in a way that suggested the answers were otherwise.
The only reason Wash and the team gave for his resignation is “personal reasons,” which is so wide-ranging it potentially includes the death of a pet rock to the loathing of management.
J.D. said Wash didn’t fail another drug test, which we should believe. If Wash failed another drug test, it would have leaked.
A club source said that the personal reason is not Washington’s health. If that is the case, why would third base coach Gary Pettis tell WFAA’s George Riba, “We just hope he has a speedy recovery?”
If Ron Washington left the Rangers for any reason other than a personal matter and he quit because he is sick of the job, shame on J.D., co-owners Ray Davis and Bob Simpson. He was the best thing this team had going for it, and this exodus smells.
The Rangers and Wash could not come to an agreement on a leave of absence, making it appear that the manager is using this personal reason to be gone for good.
Wash was telling people Friday night that he will be back in baseball.
He didn’t say this, but he’s not coming back to Arlington.
With this team rolling toward a 100-loss season despite the eighth-highest payroll in baseball, this is one hell of a time to quit on your team. Ron Washington is not a quitter.
Given the circumstances surrounding this management team and a certain former owner named Nolan, every conspiracy theory is in play until Washington reveals the exact reason why he left.
Pick your favorite:
1. Ron Washington quit because of personal reasons, which if that is the case, then Godspeed. Wash has been in baseball for more than 40 years, and you can bet his reasons for leaving before the end of the season are not trivial.
Here is to hoping both he and his family are in good health.
2. Ron Washington quit because he had enough of being micro-managed, and “assisted” by a GM who has taken to giving his team pep-talks in the clubhouse, as Mr. Randy Galloway recently reported.
3. Ron Washington quit because he is tired of feeble assurances by management. J.D. said again on Friday that Wash had been assured that he would return in 2015, the final year of his contract.
Maybe Wash looked at this roster and wanted an additional year, but was told not yet.
4. Ron Washington quit because he is planning on taking the open Astros job, will bring pitching coach Mike Maddux with him and complete the Nolan Ryan reunification project in Houston.
All four scenarios may not be probable, yet they are each plausible.
As we consider the conspiracies, remember that Wash was originally a J.D. guy. It was former Rangers owner Tom Hicks and J.D. who hired Wash. After Nolan inherited Wash, he said he thought he would be a good coach.
Despite Washington’s long relationship with J.D., it was the GM who cryptically said Friday, “Relationships change.”
This departure reinforces the perception that Jon Daniels is on a power staycation to mold the Rangers into his personal baseball vision, made possible by the blind support of Simpson and Davis to do whatever he wants.
The role of the GM has changed dramatically since Wash entered baseball; now these guys, thanks to Oakland’s Billy Beane, think they can and should do everything. As people-friendly as Wash is, this evolution of the GM must rub him raw.
Whatever the “personal reason” this is not the way this man should go out. He is the most successful manager in team history, led this club to consecutive World Series, and was one of the more endearing figures in this town. He should eventually join this club’s Hall of Fame.
All owners eventually sell and nearly every manager will be fired, but in less than one year two of the most important figures in the most successful run of this franchise have left — Nolan, and now Wash.
That leaves J.D. to run the shop.
We know why Nolan left.
We don’t exactly know why Wash left, but it smells.
Follow Mac Engel on The Big Mac Blog at star-telegram.com/sports/.