ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have exercised the option on manager Jeff Banister's contract for the 2019 season, and are bringing back six of his eight coaches to the staff for the 2018 season.Those six are pitching coach Doug Brocail, hitting coach Anthony Iapoce, third base coach Tony Beasley, bench coach
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have exercised the option on manager Jeff Banister's contract for the 2019 season, and are bringing back six of his eight coaches to the staff for the 2018 season.
Those six are pitching coach Doug Brocail, hitting coach Anthony Iapoce, third base coach Tony Beasley, bench coach Steve Buechele, assistant hitting coach Justin Mashore and Hector Ortiz, who served as first base coach in 2017.
The Rangers announced they have not exercised the option on bullpen coach Brad Holman for 2018, but instead will move Ortiz into that position. Ortiz is a former Major League catcher who will continue his duties of catching instructor.
Josh Bonifay, who was the Major League field coordinator in 2017, will be returning in a new role to be determined.
Despite obvious appearances, Banister and general manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers bullpen woes were not being placed on Holman. Daniels said the Rangers are trying to take a new approach with a catcher overseeing the bullpen.
"This is about structuring a staff that best helps our players succeed," Banister said. "He is an ex-catcher who communicates well with the pitching staff, who sees and thinks well situationally the approach to pitching in different situations. It adds a different element to this group."
The Rangers have formally released first baseman Prince Fielder, who is unable to play because of herniated disks in his neck. The move simply means the Rangers will no longer have to carry Fielder on the 40-man roster through the off-season.
Fielder retired midway through the 2016 season because of the herniated disks, but is still signed through 2020. The Rangers had to keep Fielder either on the 60-day disabled list during the season or on the 40-man roster in the off-season to collect $9 million of his $24 million annual salary.
The Rangers will still be obligated for $9 million of his salary for the next three years with the Tigers picking up $6 million. But by settling with the insurance company, the Rangers no longer need to keep Fielder on the 40-man roster in the off-season as they did last year.
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.