Who Should the Texas Rangers Make Their Manager for 2015?
By Lee Stitzel
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Who should the Texas Rangers hire for their coming managerial opening? The options are plentiful. The most obvious choices are the current interim manager Tim Bogar, an internal option like Mike Maddux, and a plethora of available former mangers.
Tim Bogar has filled Ron Washington’s shoes quite well but he highlights the difficulty of analyzing this type of situation from the outside. The impact of a manager is difficult to judge from within the organization, let alone from outside. Managers have no stats nor is there any appreciable analytic way of breaking down their performance. Whether the team wins or not is not a great measuring stick. The manager can only do so much with a collection of players. Conversely, they can only hold a good team back so much. Yet, it seems that a manger must be valuable. They do more than just fill out lineups. Managers teach and motivate. These two things are difficult gauge, especially from outside an organization.
None the less, this article will break down some possible candidates for the managerial position.
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While Bogar looks good early in meaningless games, his Texas Rangers are the hottest team in baseball, there are other obvious internal options. Mike Maddux is one of the best pitching coaches in baseball and has to be in consideration for the managing job. While Maddux would be an excellent candidate for the job it would be hard to imagine the Rangers giving Bogar the interim job and then giving Maddux the permanent position. By giving Bogar the job for now they have likely eliminated Maddux from consideration. Bogar has this team clicking on all cylinders, winning games against the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels. The Rangers look great under Bogar. Winning looks good and feels good. Bogar has to be a front runner for the managerial position in Texas.
The most talked about candidates are going to be former managers. Names like Dusty Baker, Ozzie Guillen, Jim Tracy, Manny Acta and even Bo Porter are going to be thrown out there. There are many names omitted here but who knows who the Rangers have in mind as a dark horse candidate. Frankly, none of these options are particularly appealing. Ozzie Guillen is more trouble than he is worth. Given his poor track record of handling himself personally over his last few chances it is hard to see what value he can bring that outweighs his improper behavior. Jim Tracy, Manny Acta, and Bo Porter all strike me as mediocre at best managerial candidates. This team wants to jump right back into playoff contention next year and none of these managers have a great track record of winning. None of them were given a chance to manage a winning team or even an average team. It is hard to say they were bad managers; rather they simply managed bad teams. It would not be bothersome to hire them but neither would it excite anyone. If the team was going to pick one of these managers Bo Porter would likely be a favorite. It is probably this author’s bias from watching Porter manage the most since he was within the division but Porter definitely has some fire in his belly and likes to push his players. Perhaps the Rangers need to be pushed after having a relatively happy-go-lucky manager like Ron Washington.
Dusty Baker is intriguing as a possible manager. He has winning experience and is better fit for managing veterans than young players. Hopefully, next year the Texas Rangers major league squad will be mostly veterans. If the team wants to pick from this pool of candidates it would seem Baker might be the best option.
Of course, many teams hire managers off of other teams’ benches. The Rangers lost Clint Hurdle to the Pittsburg Pirates this way only a few years ago. This certainly could be an option for Texas but given that two of the best managerial candidates in the majors are already within the organization and on the team’s bench, it is hard to imagine the team passing over Bogar and Maddux to grab a bench coach or position coach from another team.
The most intriguing long-shot candidate is former Ranger Michael Young. Given the way baseball has gone lately by hiring former players who have not been out of the game long, Michael Young might be a serious option. Recent former player hirings include, Brad Ausmus with the Tigers, Matt Williams with Nationals and Robin Ventura with the White Sox. The Rangers fan base and organization loves Michael Young. Young is presumably a good baseball mind and could make a solid managerial candidate. Few of the current players would have played with Michael Young. Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Yu Darvish, Neftali Feliz are the only major pieces on the team that would have played alongside Young.
There are obvious reasons to think Young might not land the job. It is hard to know if players will respect Young enough after having played along with him only two years ago. He also did not leave the team on good terms. Could Jon Daniels repair the relationship with Michael Young? Easily, Daniels might not even have to apologize.
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It would be hard to imagine Michael Young turning down a shot at managing his Texas Rangers. It could make a lot of sense for Young to take the job if offered. Beyond the obvious, who would turn down an opportunity to be an MLB manager, the Texas Rangers may be set for a big bounce back next year and Young could capitalize on it. With Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo, Alexi Ogando and others set to rejoin the team next year the Rangers could be the bounce back team of the year and Michael Young could be the manager to lead the team back to playoff contention. Young would also have a Tim Bogar and Mike Maddux on his bench, which would give him an important safety net.
This is nothing more than an educated guess, but it seems that the Texas Rangers’ top three candidates at this early stage are; Tim Bogar, Dusty Baker, and Michael Young.