#1 Bruce Bochy - Texas Rangers manager
No other offseason signing has had a greater impact on the Texas Rangers than adding Bruce Bochy as the new manager. After Chris Woodward was fired last August, it was clear that the Rangers were going in a new direction. At the time, I was taking a baseball development class that was being taught by former MLB GM Dan Duquette. That evening, I asked Dan if he was the Rangers' GM, who he would try to go hire. Without hesitation, his answer was, "Bruce Bochy wouldn't be a bad choice." Not a bad choice indeed.
Bochy immediately brought validity to the Rangers. When CY talked Bochy into bringing his three World Series rings to Arlington, in search for more, that was a turning point for this club. It sent a signal up and down the organization that they were not going to just talk about winning championships as hyperbole, but that the Rangers were doing what they could to make it happen.
MLB baseball is a mix of analytics and people and how those two things work together. Bochy (68) might be on the older side when it comes to managers, but he still is accepting of many of the new metrics and ideas. What he isn't though, is a manager that will blindly do something that the numbers say is the right move, if it doesn't pass the eye test. His countless hours of, first being a catcher in the big leagues, and then as a longtime manager, serve as a database to pull from in any given situation.
Has Bochy made all of the right moves thus far? Hardly. The players are ultimately the ones that have to go out and execute the game plan and perform at a high level. What Bochy does bring is a confidence and non-arrogant swagger that radiates through the team. He is a blue-collar manager with a blue-collar team. From his coaching staff that includes the likes of pitching coach Mike Maddux, down to a rookie being called up for the first time, everyone is pulling the rope in the same direction for Bochy.
A team is usually only as good as their leader, and Bruce Bochy is one of the best in the game. This Rangers team would be good without him as the manager, but with him they have the second-best record in MLB. There isn't anything that this team has been through, or will go through, that he hasn't had to deal with before. He is their rock, and thus far, has proven to be the best offseason signing for the Texas Rangers.