ARLINGTON -- The World Series is over, the Red Sox are World Series champions, and it is time for teams to start making decisions in earnest.The Rangers are foremost among them, and time draws short in their quest for a new manager. It is a good time for a reset
ARLINGTON -- The World Series is over, the Red Sox are World Series champions, and it is time for teams to start making decisions in earnest.
The Rangers are foremost among them, and time draws short in their quest for a new manager. It is a good time for a reset on where the Rangers stand in their search.
There were six teams looking for managers going into the offseason, and the Rangers and the Orioles are the only two that haven't made a decision. The others hired were Brad Ausmus by the Angels, David Bell by the Reds, Rocco Baldelli by the Twins and Charlie Montoyo by the Blue Jays.
The Rangers interviewed Bell and Baldelli but not the other two. The Orioles have yet to hire a general manager, so they don't appear focused on their field manager.
The Rangers openly admit they are taking their time and want to make the right decision. This is a team that is coming off two straight losing seasons, including a 67-95 record this past season.
That has prompted some serious organizational soul searching beyond just hiring a new manager. The Rangers appear to be taking a hard look at how they approach every aspect of baseball operations, knowing they have one year left before going into a new facility. Expectations will be heightened when the Rangers move into Globe Life Field in 2020, and they need the momentum back on their side.
The right manager is only one of multiple changes the Rangers must contemplate, but it will have the most significant impact with the fanbase. The potential for the right momentum swing is significant.
Now that the World Series is over, the Rangers are free to announce their decision once they have made it. They could also continue to expand the process. Red Sox bench coach Ron Roenicke, who managed four-plus years with the Brewers, could get consideration as well as Dodgers third-base coach Chris Woodward.
The Rangers interviewed eight candidates through the initial stages of the process, and five are presumably still in play.
• Don Wakamatsu finished the season as the interim manager, and he is the only one of the five with Major League managerial experience. He led the Mariners to an 85-77 record in 2009 after they had finished 61-101 the year before. He was dismissed after a 42-70 record in '10. Wakamatsu was a bench coach for the Royals when they went to the World Series in 2014-15, and he was the Rangers' bench coach this past season. He knows the organization well and commands respect in the clubhouse. He should be getting strong consideration for the position.
• Jayce Tingler just finished his 12th season in the Rangers organization, serving as farm director the past two years after serving as Major League field coordinator in 2015-16 and Minor League field coordinator in 12-14. He has a long history with most of the Rangers' young players, but he's also relatively inexperienced at the big league level.
• There is a strong feeling within the industry that Astros bench coach Joe Espada will eventually be a big league manager, whether it is with the Rangers or somebody else. He spent last season with the Astros after three years as the Yankees' third-base coach. He also had four years as the Marlins' third-base coach, although his only managerial experience was one season in the Puerto Rico Winter League.
• Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde received interviews with multiple teams. He has a strong resume that includes serving as a Minor League manager in the Marlins organization. He has spent the past five seasons working under Joe Maddon on the Cubs' coaching staff.
• Phillies third-base coach Dusty Wathan spent 10 years managing in their system with an impressive overall record -- three Manager of the Year awards -- before taking his first job at the Major League level this past season. He is the son of former Major League manager John Wathan but otherwise has limited exposure to the Major Leagues.
• Joe Girardi, Bell and Baldelli were also included in the first round of interviews. Girardi, who managed the Yankees for 10 seasons and led them to a World Series title in 2009, had the strongest resume of the initial candidates but was among the first to drop out.
• The Rangers spoke with Angels special assistant Eric Chavez last week in Arizona. He had an impressive 17-year career as a Major League third baseman with outstanding leadership qualities. But his post-playing career has been mainly as a special assistant. He appeared to be a strong candidate for the Angels but was passed over when Ausmus was hired.
• The Rangers also considered Stubby Clapp, who is currently the Cardinals' Triple-A manager. He has an impressive Minor League resume, but little experience at the Major League level.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.