Four more individuals have been interviewed for the Texas Rangers managerial opening. Here are some notes on the recent candidates…
Texas Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels aimed to interview 5-8 candidates for the manager opening. As of today, 8 candidates have been interviewed. Last week, Texas interviewed their Assistant General Manager, Jayce Tingler, Cubs’ bench coach, Brandon Hyde, Astros’ bench coach, Joe Espada, and former MLB manager, Joe Girardi.
Already this week, Rays’ field coordinator, Rocco Baldelli, Giants’ vice president of player development, David Bell, Phillies’ third base coach, Dusty Wathan, and Rangers’ bench coach, Don Wakamatsu have interviewed for the opening.
We got to know the first four candidates last week. Now, let’s get to know this week’s four…
If you’ve followed Major League Baseball for the last couple of decades then you’re probably familiar with the name Rocco Baldelli. Perhaps you recall him for his unique name, or maybe you remember him for being an immensely talented prospect that never got the chance to fulfill his big league potential. Baldelli finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting in 2003. He breezed through the minors and emerged as a five-tool center fielder for the Tampa Bay Rays (Devil Rays, at the time) that year.
Sadly, his 156 games played in 2003 would be the high mark in his career. He played in 136 games in ’04 before missing all of the ’05 season. He never played more than 92 games in a season and ended up retiring in 2010. It was injury after injury after injury that prevented the tremendously talented Baldelli from stardom.
However, he did earn his way to being a special assistant for the Tampa Bay Rays. Baldelli became Tampa’s first base coach in 2014 and has spent this past season as the club’s field coordinator. He does not have managerial experience, but he’s done enough to catch the eye of Jon Daniels. For what it’s worth, had Baldelli not gone to the draft, he was considering attending either Wake Forest, UNC, Princeton or Yale.
David Bell’s off the field career has been on a steady rise since his playing career ended in 2006. He played for five teams over his 12-year big league career and is the son of Texas Rangers Hall of Famer Buddy Bell.
David Bell does have managerial experience. He managed the Carolina Mudcats for three seasons at the Double-A level and the Louisville Bats for one season at the Triple-A level in the Cincinnati Reds’ organization. He became the Cubs’ third base coach in 2012, the Cardinals’ assistant hitting coach in 2013 and was promoted to the Cards’ bench coach in 2015. Bell spent 2018 as the vice president of player development for the San Francisco Giants.
He’s certainly compiled an impressive portfolio in short time.
Dusty Wathan knows the minor leagues. He played in over 1,000 minor league games and managed in the minors for 10 years. Wathan is the winningest manager in the history of the Reading Fightin Phils. Reading is the Philadelphia Phillies’ Double-A affiliate. After managing Reading to success from 2012 to 2016, Wathan became the manager for the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
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He spent one season with Lehigh Valley and was then named to Gabe Kapler‘s coaching staff for the Phillies to start the 2018 season. He was the club’s third base coach this past season.
With loads of minor league experience as a player and manager, Dusty Wathan is looking to venture into major league managing. His major league career comprised of three games with the Kansas City Royals. Given the fact that the Texas Rangers are interviewing him after one year of big league coaching, you get the sense he’ll have a much more colorful career as a manager than a player in MLB.
You can multiply Wathan’s MLB career by six to get Don Wakamatsu’s MLB career. Wakamatsu played in 18 games with the Chicago White Sox in 1991. However, the Rangers’ 2018 bench coach has established himself as a sought after managerial candidate in his post-playing days.
Wakamatsu did manage the AL West Seattle Mariners in 2009 and 2010. He went 85-77 in ’09 and 42-70 in ’10 before being fired. He was also the acting bench coach for the Kansas City Royals in their 2014 World Series appearance.
Wakamatsu was named the bench coach for the Texas Rangers for the 2018 season. He filled in as interim manager for Jeff Banister at the end of 2018, overseeing the team to a 3-7 finish to the year.