Texas Rangers rumors: Jeff Banister and whether he will be the Texas Rangers manager is a topic in Evan Grant’s latest “Evan Help Us” piece, and while there are a variety of other questions in there, this one is, to me, the most compelling. Evan says “the chances are better than 50-50” that the Rangers let Jeff Banister go after the 2018 season and look for a new manager.
The question about the future of Banister has sort of hung over this team all season, with Banister’s contract running only through 2019, and reports indicating that general manager Jon Daniels had a sit down with Banister about his handling of the clubhouse after last season. I don’t think that Jeff Banister is the reason the Rangers are in last place, and I doubt the front office thinks that, either. If a change is made, I suspect it is because of the things that we don’t see that go on behind the scenes — a belief that the Rangers need a different voice to handle a club that is much younger, and much different, than the group that Banister was originally given in 2015.
The finalists the last time around were Banister, Tim Bogar and Kevin Cash. Bogar is not managing, but Cash has gotten great reviews for his work with the Tampa Bay Rays, and Alex Cora, another former player who Daniels interviewed for the managerial job after the 2014 season, is at the helm of a Boston Red Sox team that is having a historic season. One has to wonder if JD is regretting passing on hiring one of those two guys, or if, had Cash or Cora been brought in here, the situation in Texas would be the same as it is now.
I don’t think Banister is a bad manager. The Rangers won a couple of division titles under him, and the complaints he gets as far as his in-game decision-making are the same sort of complaints that are leveled against most managers. And I tend to think that so much of what a manager does, so much of what is important about their job, is the behind-the-scenes stuff, the handling of personalities and the clubhouse, that I am reluctant to opine about whether a particular manager needs to stay or go.
But if the Rangers do make a change, then, as Evan suggests in his piece, they will probably look for someone who is similar to Cash, Cora, or Phillies manager Gabe Kapler — former players who are relatively young and have an analytical bent, who are able to relate to and command respect from current players while also being open to analytics and embracing the changes in the way the game is being played nowadays.