A lot of stuff out there today on the Rangers, a lot of it dealing with the managerial situation and upcoming free agency...
Kevin Sherrington touches on the Buck Problem:
The effect of Buck Showalter's style on Jon Daniels' ability to recruit probably prompted last week's dismissal. Several players felt Showalter was behind word spread by a club official that Kenny Rogers wanted out of a series against New York and Boston, preceding his infamous blow-up. One player told me then that, once their contracts were up, they were out. Throw in the annual Sports Illustrated survey in which players ranked Showalter as one of the worst (read, "unpopular") managers in baseball, and there goes the free-agent market, too.
I wish Sherrington had said something about this before Buck got fired, but regardless, one more reason why Daniels made the right move...
Phil Rogers comments on the firing in his notes this week:
Jon Daniels, who still hasn't turned 30, showed surprising toughness by recommending Buck Showalter's firing to Rangers owner Tom Hicks. Showalter, who lived just down the block from Hicks, is owed more than $5 million. Longtime hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo would like his shot at managing the Rangers. Ron Washington, Oakland's third-base coach, has several supporters in the Texas organization.
Ken Davidoff praises the Rangers for axing Showalter, and says the Rangers are interested in Trey Hillman, whom, Davidoff says, has Buck's work ethic, but not his controlling personality.
The San Francisco Chronicle talks about Don Wakamatsu being a managerial candidate in Texas, and includes a little more background about him than I've seen most other places.
In the Chicago Sun-Times, Cito Gaston's name pops up (for the first time, I think) in connection with the Rangers, although the writer predicts that Wakamatsu will ultimately get the call.
Barry Bonds name is linked to Texas in this item, although it appears to just be speculation, not anything concrete. Still, given the desire to get a solid bat in here, I wouldn't be surprised if the Rangers pursued Bonds.
Evan Grant touches on Jon Daniels' early off season priorities, with narrowing the list of managerial candidates down (Grant lists Wakamatsu, Rudy Jaramillo, Hillman, and Washington prominently) and trying to work on deals with GMJ and Mark DeRosa at the top of the list.
I question whether Daniels is going to be able to re-sign DeRosa, given that the Rangers aren't going to be able to give him a starting job (unless they trade Hank Blalock). Despite his surprising 2006 season, DeRosa really didn't hit well enough to be a quality corner outfielder, and if the Rangers don't get a big bat, they still have Brad Wilkerson, Nelson Cruz, and Jason Botts for the OF/DH slots, with Victor Diaz in AAA.
I think DeRosa ends up leaving to sign with a team that is willing to pay more for him to be a regular second baseman or third baseman.
The S-T lists the same four candidates as the DMN on Daniels' likely managerial shortlist, and also includes DeMarlo Hale with that group.