The last time Jon Daniels went in search of a manager, I was really surprised by the results of the search. I was expecting Trey Hillman to get the gig and Ron Washington was not even on my radar. Turns out that Wash was the perfect choice then, so JD has lots of credibility as he begins this search. Still, I hope I am not surprised this time.
I’ll be surprised if the job goes to anyone outside of the organization. Tim Bogar seems like a shoe-in, but there are two other candidates that should and will get serious consideration. Steve Buechele and Mike Maddux will both be big league managers at some point, perhaps as soon as next year.
Buechele is a fan favorite around here since his days occupying the hot corner for those late 80’s – early 90’s teams. But his candidacy is not based on his popularity with longtime Rangers fans. He’s a candidate because he is a good manager. He cut his managerial teeth in Bakersfield when the Rangers had an affiliate in that hellhole. He then did four years in Frisco managing the Double A prospects regarded as some of the best in the system. Boo (as he’s known) spent this season with Triple A Round Rock. In six years as a manager he has had a losing record only once, and that was this year when the injuries were felt throughout the organization. He has taken four teams to the playoffs in six years, one all the way to the championship series.
Boo has been with the major league club since the end of August as an extra coach. He has told countless players that they were being “called up” to the big leagues. It is time for him to get a big league call up as a manager.
Maddux’s candidacy is tricky because one way or the other the Rangers are likely to lose the best pitching coach they have ever had. Even if they decide to make him the manager they will be in the market for a new pitching coach. If they don’t name him manager it is likely that some other team will. Mike has refused more than one opportunity to be a manager in the past. A couple of years ago the Cubs were very interested in him but he declined because he didn’t want to move his family. His girls were in school at the time. They have since graduated so he is less tied to this area.
I believe Maddux will be an awesome manager, he has already proven that he is an excellent pitching coach. One other consideration – if you lose Mike you probably lose a special assistant to the GM, Greg Maddux. The Hall of Fame pitcher has been great at coaching young pitchers here but he’ll likely follow his older brother.
All that being said I think that Tim Bogar will be the next manager of the Rangers. His hiring last off-season was shrouded in controversy. Nobody quarreled with naming him as bench coach but there were plenty of people upset that Jackie Moore had been let go. Still it was considered a coup to get Bogar and there were plenty of whispers that he was the heir apparent to Wash. Tim has been named Manager of the Year in three different minor leagues and his teams have won two championships.
His best attribute, though, is what has happened since September 5th. The Rangers have played 19 games since then and won 13 of them. Bogar was hired because he is a rare breed in baseball – a former player who also embraces analytics. He is cut from the cloth of a couple of guys for whom he coached, Terry Francona and Joe Maddon.
So I believe the next Rangers manager will come from within. In fact I will be surprised if he doesn’t. I hope I’m not surprised.