Well, looks like Oakland is going down once again...
And it looks like the Cards are showing a few signs of life against the Mets, although I still think we'll have a Mets/Tigers World Series...
Jim Reeves is endorsing Trey Hillman as the choice, in a column that goes a lot more in-depth than most have about Hillman's background and the history of him being interviewed by the Rangers before. Some highlights:
A Rangers' source says that if not for the Japan complications four years ago, the Rangers would never have gone outside the organization and hired Buck Showalter.
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That's when then-GM John Hart was singing his praises but, hey, don't hold that against Trey.
"He has been a successful manager at every level," Hart said four years ago to the day as I write this. "He has crossed over to a more significant leadership position as our farm director. He has a very strong player-development background. His baseball credentials are impeccable."
Daniels has talked about wanting a manager with strong values, someone who can breed trust in the clubhouse. Hart was talking about the same thing when he used words like "character," "professional" and "marketable" to describe Hillman, followed by even more lavish phrases like "tremendous leadership ability," "most prepared man I've ever met" and "tremendous presence and genuine honesty."
Three times Hillman has been named his league's Manager of the Year in the minors. Twice in three years he was tabbed as the International League's Best Managerial Prospect by Baseball America. Now, having won his division and swept the Softbank Hawks in the second round of the playoffs (the Fighters had a bye in the first round), he's on the cusp of winning it all in Japan.
The guy has simply been a winner everywhere he's gone.
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The Rangers hoped Hillman could get out of the contract, which is why he spent almost seven hours interviewing with Hart and later owner Tom Hicks. But Hillman is a man of his word. When it became clear that Nippon Ham had no intention of easily letting him go, he accepted it as God's way of telling him he had a different journey to make.
Now he is more convinced than ever that he is prepared to manage in the major leagues.
"It's made me a much better manager," Hillman said. "I know it's made me a better person because I'm much more patient."
Man...imagine Hillman here the last four years, instead of Buck. It makes me want to cry.
Evan Grant has a piece on former Rangers in the playoffs, talking about the performance of Kenny Rogers and Craig Monroe in the playoffs, and the danger of the team seeing current Rangers leave and succeed elsewhere like they have. His end paragraph:
The Rangers might embark on another makeover this winter and face important decisions on internal free agents such as Gary Matthews Jr., Mark DeRosa and Vicente Padilla. They must decide whether Jason Botts, whose major league numbers at this point are eerily similar to the ones Monroe amassed before he was placed on waivers, is a big league hitter. And they must decide once and for all whether guys like Joaquin Benoit and John Koronka and John Rheinecker fit on a championship club.
The Rangers can discuss other organizations all they want, but it's more important for them to know their own.
I'm really troubled by the Jason Botts situation...the Rangers had him up for a month this summer, but Buck refused to play him, and then he broke his hand right before September callups, so he couldn't get time then.
I have to think that Botts isn't going to get dumped by the organization, that he's going to be the regular DH next year...but still, given the uncertainty out there, you have to wonder...