Again, there's one big Rangers story, of course, the firing of Buck Showalter...
I've talked about Buck so much since, really, I started blogging that I don't feel I have a whole lot else to say about the issue. Obviously, I think this was the right move, and I am glad Jon Daniels was willing to step to the plate and get it done.
Going through the press reports on this this morning...
Tim Cowlishaw seems to be in favor of the move, and says that this shows that Jon Daniels is the one in charge, contrary to what a lot of folks were saying this time last year, when the prevailing sentiment among a good portion of the media was that Showalter was Daniels' boss, that Buck was running the show and Daniels was just the "capologist." Cowlishaw touches on the recurring theme behind this move:
Rangers players have long grown weary of Showalter's manipulations and what they perceive as his unwillingness to be up front with them. Summers are long and hot enough in Arlington without dealing with the additional heat that Buck puts on his players.
In Evan Grant's article about the firing, he says Daniels hasn't given a timetable for finding a replacement, while quoting Buck as saying that the team just didn't win enough for him to keep his job.
Grant also says that the players weren't surprised by the move, saying that they got the sense at the end of the year that a move was coming.
Kat O'Brien says much the same thing in an S-T article, with Mark DeRosa talking about Buck's penchant for control, and Gerald Laird saying that the players have to accept responsibility for not playing "up to our standards" in 2006.
Richard Durrett, meanwhile, has a timeline of the constant changes the Rangers have undergone since the new millenium started, while Evan Grant looks at some of Buck's decisions, some of which worked, some of which didn't.
Jim Reeves rips the decision, saying that the Rangers' problems are because of Tom Hicks, not Buck Showalter. He also says that, although 80% of respondent's in an S-T online poll said that firing Buck was the right move, that fans didn't really mean that -- that that is just "frustration talking."
And yes, Reeves acknowledged that the players were unhappy with Buck, but he doesn't think it isn't anything a good pitching staff and higher payroll wouldn't solve.
While I do think Tom Hicks' reluctance to up the payroll is a significant problem, that doesn't give Buck Showalter a free pass. And what Reeves ignores is that Showalter's presence is likely going to make it harder to up payroll, since he makes Texas a less attractive place for potential free agents to sign.
Evan Grant says that better communication skills are something the team wants from Buck's successor, and lists Don Wakamatsu, Rudy Jaramillo, DeMarlo Hale, Trey Hillman, Ron Washington, and Bud Black as possible candidates.
Kat O'Brien mentions much the same list of possible replacements, although she also includes Joe Girardi as a possibility. However, Girardi is thought to be a top candidate for the Chicago Cubs job, and the Chicago Tribune says Girardi doesn't appear to be a candidate for the Texas job.