Jeff Banister is out as the Texas Rangers’ manager, according to multiple reports from the local beat guys. Banister was finishing up his fourth season as the Rangers’ manager.
This is not exactly a surprise — yesterday, Evan Grant said he thought there was better than a 50/50 chance that Banister would be fired, and other beat guys reported that a change was being considered. My guess is that a decision had been made and Banister was going to be let go after Sunday’s game, before the final road trip, or else when the season was over. With the reports coming out yesterday, I am assuming the Rangers felt they had to make the move now.
As I discussed yesterday in the piece linked above, I don’t think that Banister was fired because of the Rangers’ poor record this season, or even for tactical reasons. Rather, it sounds like the move was made because of discontent in the clubhouse, both with veterans and younger players, that has been bubbling for some time. The Rangers won the division in both 2015 and 2016, and winning can keep unhappiness at bay for a while, but it seems like things came to a head the last two seasons. Reports indicated that the front office met with Banister at the end of last season about his communication issues with the players, and it appears that wasn’t fixed.
I would guess the Rangers will be looking for a young former player who can command respect from the clubhouse while also being willing to work with the front office on being more forward-thinking and analytic-friendly than the old school types are thought of being. Alex Cora and Kevin Cash, who the Rangers interviewed after the 2014 season, are examples of the type of manager the Rangers will be seeking. Raul Ibanez, an extremely well respected former player who has been talked about as a potential future manager, is someone who I would think would get an interview.
UPDATE — As soon as I hit “publish,” John Blake tweeted that the Rangers have fired Banister. Don Wakamatsu is taking over as interim manager for the rest of the season.