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Rangers expand search to fill manager vacancy

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers are expanding their managerial search. Former Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez and Cardinals Triple-A manager Stubby Clapp have caught the Rangers' attention.

Other candidates could be added as the Rangers' search continues while they hold their organizational meetings at their Spring Training facility this week.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers are expanding their managerial search. Former Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez and Cardinals Triple-A manager Stubby Clapp have caught the Rangers' attention.

Other candidates could be added as the Rangers' search continues while they hold their organizational meetings at their Spring Training facility this week.

"Continue to work on it," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "I don't expect to hire somebody before we leave here. I expect it to go into next week. The number I care about is one. We want to hire the right guy. It may be one that we have already spoken to, but we make sure we hire the right guy."

Chavez, who was at the Rangers' facility on Wednesday, played 17 years in the Major Leagues, mostly with the Athletics before retiring after the 2014 season. He has spent the past three years as a special assistant with the Angels while serving as their Triple-A Salt Lake City manager for the final month of this past season.

Clapp was a career Minor League player, although he played 23 games for the Cardinals in 2001. He has been working in the Minor Leagues since his playing career ended in 2006, both as a coach and a manager. He has spent the last two years managing Triple-A Memphis, leading the club to the Pacific Coast League title in 2017. He was the PCL Manager of the Year that season. He is currently working as manager of the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League, and they are based in the Rangers' complex.

Daniels has not officially acknowledged any interviews. The original eight candidates included interim manager Don Wakamatsu, farm director Jayce Tingler, Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde, Astros bench coach Joe Espada, Phillies third-base coach Dusty Wathan and Rays field coordinator Rocco Baldelli (who on late Wednesday emerged as the front-runner for the Twins' manager vacancy, according to multiple reports). Former Yankees manager Joe Girardi interviewed but has since dropped out. David Bell was interviewed but has since been hired by the Reds.

Wakamatsu, who managed the Mariners in 2009-10, is the only known candidate so far who has previous managerial experience.

"Regardless of manager's experience when you get the job, you hire the right guy, there is going to be continued growth whether they have done it or not," Daniels said. "The game is changing, personnel changes, information changes, even in the last 10 years, the standard coaching staff has changed. We want to hire someone who embraces the desire to get better and continually grow."

The Rangers are taking their time because hiring the right manager reflects their overall organizational approach this winter. The Rangers were 67-95 and finished in last place this past season. Two straight losing seasons have brought about some organizational soul searching for the Rangers.

The topic was broached by one of the candidates during their interview. He wanted to know exactly what the Rangers' short-term and long-term goals were for the organization.

The long-term goal is obvious: a team that can enjoy sustained success as a contender and get back to the World Series. The short-term goal has a different definition.

"The short-term goal is getting the right people in place and making sure we are aligned from top to bottom with everything we do," Daniels said. "That's a huge focus as far as this offseason, getting the right people in place, both on the field and in the front office and making sure everything is aligned the way we want it to be."

Hiring Shiraz Rehman as an assistant general manager with an emphasis on research and development is a part of that. There are other potential front office changes coming, and the coaching staff will be evaluated once the new manager is hired. Finding the right manager is all part of it.

"We're growing," Daniels said. "The game evolves and you want to get better. This year is a year we have identified a number of spots where we want to get better. It is a natural time. We have a young club that is developing, we are moving to a new ballpark in a year. It's the right time to get the structure where we want it. We are trying to get better."

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.

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