Texas Rangers rumors: Don Wakamatsu, former Seattle Mariners manager and former Texas Rangers coach, is returning to the Rangers organization as the team’s bench coach, per multiple reports. Wakamatsu was the Rangers’ bench coach under manager Buck Showalter from 2003 to 2006, interviewing for the managerial job that ended up going to Ron Washington after the 2006 season, and was the third base coach under Washington for the 2007 season.
Wakamatsu was hired as the manager for the Seattle Mariners before the 2009 season, but was fired in August, 2010, before he could complete his second year. Wakamatsu has been the bench coach for the Kansas City Royals since 2014.
With Wakamatsu being hired, bench coach Steve Buechele is moving to first base coach, a spot that opened up when Hector Ortiz was moved from first base coach to bullpen coach.
This is more interesting to me that it normally would be due to this report from Jon Heyman that there was some “grumbling” in the Rangers’ clubhouse about manager Jeff Banister, who just finished his third year at the helm for Texas. Wakamatsu is someone who this front office regime is familiar with, but who doesn’t have a history with Banister. I don’t think that Banister’s seat is hot, but the super-intense type of managers or head coaches in sports tend to have shorter shelf lifes, due in no small part to their tendency to eventually wear on their players.
With Wakamatsu, someone with major league managerial experience, on board, it could be that the Rangers might be more inclined than one might think to make a change early in 2018 if the team doesn’t start well, particularly if the club opts to go into sell mode with veterans such as Cole Hamels and Adrian Beltre.
Or I could be overthinking this.