Rangers interview Girardi for manager job

October 12th, 2018

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are showing they are willing to at least think big by interviewing former Yankees manager Joe Girardi on Friday.

Girardi spent 10 years managing the Yankees in 2008-17 and led them to a World Series title in 2009. He also managed the Marlins in 2006. He is the most experienced and successful candidate Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has interviewed during his three managerial searches.

Daniels did inquire about former Twins manager Tom Kelly in 2006. But Kelly, who won two World Series with the Twins, was not interested in coming out of retirement. Daniels ended up interviewing Ron Washington, Don Wakamatsu, Manny Acta, Trey Hillman and John Russell. Washington got the job, while the other four candidates were eventually hired as managers elsewhere.

The Rangers interviewed eight candidates in 2014, and none had Major League managerial experience beyond the 22 games for Tim Bogar as Washington's interim replacement. The other candidates were Jeff Banister, Steve Buechele, Mike Maddux, Joe McEwing, Kevin Cash, Torey Lovullo and Alex Cora. Banister ended up getting the job and was dismissed last month after four years, despite two division titles.

Girardi averaged 91 wins per season with the Yankees, while leading them to three division titles and six postseason appearances. One of them was in 2010 when the Yankees lost to the Rangers in the American League Championship Series. Girardi was dismissed after the 2017 season.

His one year with the Marlins in 2006 may be more relevant to the Rangers. The Marlins had the lowest payroll in baseball, their entire lineup was under 30 years old and so were five of their top six starting pitchers. Girardi led them to a record of 78-84, and he was named National League Manager of the Year. He was dismissed after the season after clashing with owner Jeffrey Loria.

The Rangers finished 67-95 this season and will be built around a core group of offensive players next season. The Rangers' chances of being a contender will depend largely on how quickly they can fix their starting pitching and rebuild their bullpen.

Girardi was dismissed in part because the Yankees wanted a different voice in their clubhouse and somebody who was better at communicating with their young players. Those were some of the same reasons the Rangers parted ways with Banister.

If Girardi is hired by the Rangers, it will be interesting to see how those issues are addressed. But there is no doubt Girardi has an impressive resume, possibly the best one ever considered by the Rangers in a managerial search. He has already interviewed with the Reds.

The Rangers have never hired or even considered a manager who had previously won a World Series. The closest was Darrell Johnson, who managed them for 66 games at the end of the 1982 season. He managed the Red Sox to the 1975 World Series before losing to the Reds.

The Rangers replaced him with Doug Rader in 1983, picking him over an unproven Minor League manager named Jim Leyland. Three years later, Rader was replaced by Bobby Valentine, who had also never managed. Valentine was replaced by Toby Harrah halfway through the 1992 season and then Kevin Kennedy took over in 1993-94.

The Rangers hired an experienced manager in Johnny Oates, who took over in 1995. He had managed the Orioles in 1991-94, but without taking them to postseason.

It wasn't until Buck Showalter was hired in 2002 to replace Jerry Narron that the Rangers ended that run of managers without postseason experience. Showalter had led the Yankees to a Wild Card berth in 1995 and the D-backs to a division title in 1999, but lost in the first round both times.

The only other Rangers manager to have led a team to postseason prior to being hired in Texas was Billy Martin. He led the Twins to the AL West title in 1969 and the Tigers to the East crown in 1972 before being hired by the Rangers in 1973. Martin replaced Whitey Herzog; both ended up winning World Series elsewhere after being let go by the Rangers.

The Rangers interviewed farm director Jayce Tingler, Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde earlier this week. Wakamatsu, who served as interim manager after Banister was let go, is expected to be interviewed next week.