The Rangers have made an opening offer to free agent pitcher Colby Lewis and are awaiting feedback from his agent Alan Nero. One factor in the negotiations is Nero also represents manager Joe Maddon, who has opted out of his contract with the Rays, is also a free agent and has become the hottest topic in baseball during the World Series.
The Rangers desire to get something done with Lewis reflects their determination to address the starting rotation as the top priority this winter. The Rangers are also engaging a number of teams in trade discussions concerning starting pitching.
Although this is a deep free agent class for starting pitching – a list that includes Jon Lester, James Shields and Max Scherzer – the Rangers are more likely to explore the trade market rather than spend big money on the free agent market.
The Rangers other priority is to fill out their coaching staff. On Friday the Rangers are expected to announce at least some positions including the return of pitching coach Mike Maddux and hitting coach Dave Magadan. The Rangers are also expected to announce the promotion of Steve Buechele to bench coach and Hector Ortiz as the catching instructor to replace Bengie Molina, who is not expected to return.
Hitting coach Dave Magadan is expected to be back with the Rangers. The club has not officially announced that yet but those are the indications under a solar eclipse. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that he is no longer a candidate in Oakland..
Interim manager Tim Bogar is not returning to the Rangers. That was the conclusion after Bogar talked with GM Jon Daniels and manager Jeff Banister
The Rangers have officially announced Jeff Banister as their new manager
He will be introduced at a press conference on Friday
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the club vetted over 40 names before selecting eight to interview. He said 12 club officials participated in the interview process.
Daniels said Banister “won the job” rather than anybody else lost it.
“What stood out is his presence,” Daniels said. “He is an impressive guy to meet. You can understand how he can command a room.”
The next step is set the coaching staff. Third base coach Gary Pettis has taken a job with the Astros.
Other coaches will meet with Banister including Tim Bogar and pitching coach Mike Maddux. Hitting coach Dave Magadan is interviewing with the Yankees and Mets.
Daniels said Banister will not have to keep any coaches he doesn’t want. Daniels will also have a say in the coaching staff.
ARLINGTON – The Rangers have hired Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister as their new manager, according to a source. He replaces Tim Bogar, who served as interim manager for the final 22 games of the season.
Banister, Bogar and Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash were the three finalists for the position. The Rangers also interviewed pitching coach Mike Maddux, Triple A manager Steve Buechele, White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing, Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo and Puerto Rico winter league executive Alex Cora.
The outside hire leaves the coaching staff in a state of uncertainty. Hitting coach Dave Magadan has been approached by the Mets and Yankees. The Rangers have reportedly reached out to Athletics hitting coach Chili Davis. Maddux remains unsigned for next season.
Banister is a Texas native with an extraordinary background. He developed bone cancer in his left leg in high school that doctors initially wanted to amputate. But the leg was saved through multiple operations and he continued his baseball career in college. At Baytown (Tx.) College, he suffered a crushed vertebrae as a catcher in a collision at home plate and was paralyzed for ten days. <p>
He still ended up playing at the University of Houston and was drafted by the Pirates in the 25th round of the 1986 First-Year Player Draft. He has spent 29 years in the Pirates organization as a player, coach and Minor League coordinator. He had one at-bat in the Major Leagues with a single in 1992. <p>
Bogar served as interim manager for the Rangers after Ron Washington resigned on September. Bogar was in his first season as Washington’s bench coach and led the Rangers to a 14-8 record, including 13 wins in their final 16 games.
Jeff Banister will be the next Rangers manager. An Announcement is expected today