As a second straight disappointing season winds down, the Texas Rangers have parted ways with manager Jeff Banister.
Over his first two seasons as manager, even with postseason shortcomings, the Texas Rangers and Jeff Banister had success together with two AL West titles and an American League Manager of the Year Award for Banister in his first season.
But last year’s 78-84 record has dissolved into a 64-88 mark entering Friday, and according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News the Rangers have parted ways with Banister.
A report surfaced on Thursday from John Blake of Fort Worth Star-Telegram suggesting the Rangers would consider replacing Banister after the season. So Friday’s move isn’t out of nowhere, amid players pointing to communication issues with Banister.
Position players have apparently been informed of days off, only to actually be in the lineup that day, and starting pitchers have lamented going days without a defined role.
Players are creatures of habit, if nothing else. Messing with or changing a routine, or altering expectations without warning, is a path to poor results and being fired. For Banister, that piper has now been paid.
The Rangers can now get a bit of a head start on a search for a new manager. For the rest of this season, bench coach Don Wakamatsu will be the interim skipper.
This is Wakamatsu’s first season a Rangers bench coach, after serving in the same role most recently with the Kansas City Royals (2014-17) and Toronto Blue Jays (2011-12). He spent less than two full seasons as Seattle Mariners manager (2009-10), with a lackluster 127-147 record.
But as Grant suggested, Wakamatsu should be on a list of candidates to permanently replace Banister.
The template for managerial hires has changed over the last couple years, favoring first-timers willing to embrace analytics. The Rangers will probably go that way too, with a name that may not move the needle for casual fans.