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With Banister gone, what's next for Texas?

Small changes have already been made
September 21, 2018

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are about to begin looking for a new manager, but that is not the only change in the organization.Some small changes have already been implemented, general manager Jon Daniels said. Bigger ones could be coming along with a new manager.The Rangers are doing some serious self-evaluation

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are about to begin looking for a new manager, but that is not the only change in the organization.
Some small changes have already been implemented, general manager Jon Daniels said. Bigger ones could be coming along with a new manager.
The Rangers are doing some serious self-evaluation as they struggle to the end of a dismal season. The Rangers are 64-88 and in last place in the American League West going into Friday's game with the Mariners, and Daniels admitted the Rangers are taking a hard look at the entire method of operation.
"We have spent quite a bit of time going through different processes, meeting with different organizations, some inside baseball, some outside baseball, reviewing best practices, where we need to get better and where we are deficient," Daniels said. "Talking to ownership as well. Not at a point where we are going to talk about it publicly, but the manager has not a lot to do with those other areas that we need to get better at. That falls on others of us in the leadership group. Has nothing to do why we are here today."
Daniels was speaking to the media on Friday to explain why manager Jeff Banister was dismissed. He said it had nothing to do with the Rangers poor record.
"That's not what this decision is about," Daniels said. "If anything, the record of the club falls on me. I am the one who ultimately leads the decisions on putting together our roster, I made the decision to trade many of our best pitchers. I accept that."
Daniels received a contract extension in June and still has the backing of Rangers owners Ray Davis, Bob Simpson and Neil Leibman. But he is the one on the spot to fix the problems.
"I feel pressure because this is a competitive group," Daniels said. "We are driven, we want to win. It's not fun losing. I don't enjoy standing here talking about where we're finishing and where our draft picks are going to be. That's not why any of us are here. That's where the pressure is. That internal drive to be great, to win."
Finding the right manager will be the first step. Daniels has yet to outline what he is looking for in a new manager, but the Rangers are in a similar situation as they were in 2006 when they fired Buck Showalter.
At the time, Daniels said the Rangers needed a new style and a new attitude. He hired Ron Washington, who brought an upbeat, outgoing personality that infused the clubhouse with renewed energy and enthusiasm at a time they were going through a rebuild. The Rangers are likely to look for a manager with a softer touch and less of an edge than Banister while they are going through a similar situation.
"I think there is a couple of things," Daniels said. "I'm not ready to lay out the blueprint, we are not there yet. There is an element to what the voice is and what the message is, there is also an element to the style and how it is received and how it is responded to. All that will be taken into consideration."
Interim manager Don Wakamatsu will get strong consideration. The Rangers could even look at Michael Young, who is now a special assistant. That would follow a recent trend in the game of hiring well-known and respected former players with little or no managing/coaching experience.
"Definitely aware of what the trends are in the game," Daniels said. "I think every situation is different and every individual is different. I don't think you try to cookie-cut or copy, you have to try and find the right individual. We have hired two first-time managers, both in their 50's. I don't think there is one way to go about it."
The new manager must be prepared for rough times ahead. The Rangers are in a full rebuild and aren't likely to be ready to contend again until after they move into their new ballpark in 2020. Being able to work with and develop young players will be a must.
"I think ultimately it comes down to how well we do our jobs," Daniels said. "We've got a lot of young players on this team that are established. Most of them are position players. Our challenge will be how quickly we can line up the pitching to go with it."
Pitching has been a challenge for the Rangers both at the Major League level and in the farm system. The Rangers have struggled mightily to develop starting pitching in their system and a number of their top young prospects have been set back by injury.
As part of that, the Rangers will likely review their medical practices, scouting methods and player acquisition among other areas. They have had success in Latin America, but that amateur drafting has not been as productive. Part of that falls back on player development and turning raw talent into polished prospects.
Daniels said the Rangers are not looking at sweeping changes. But this is an organization that cannot continue business as usual.
"I do think there will be some restructuring on how we do things," Daniels said. "Everybody involved is aware of that. That's not a surprise to the folks in the front office. Everything is on the table."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.