Posted on November 3, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
With a large-scale rebuilding project on the horizon, the Texas Rangers have found the person who will lead the way. On Saturday, the Rangers announced that Chris Woodward has been named the team’s new manager. Woodward has signed a three-year deal with a club option for the 2022 season. He replaces Jeff Banister, who was let go toward the end of the regular season. The Rangers will hold a formal press conference on Monday to introduce Woodward as their new skipper.
Woodward spent 12 seasons in the big leagues as a player from 1999 to 2011. He was primarily a utility player for most of his career and is best known for his years with the Toronto Blue Jays. After retiring as a player, Woodward spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons as a coach with the Seattle Mariners. He’s spent the last three seasons as the third base coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. During that time, Woodward also worked with the team’s infielders. He played a small role in the Dodgers reaching the World Series the past two seasons.
“We are excited to welcome Chris Woodward and his family to the Texas Rangers,” Rangers GM Jon Daniels said in a statement. “Chris brings high energy, outstanding leadership and communication skills, a strong knowledge of the game and its evolving strategies, and great integrity — attributes that we feel are vital for our next manager. We believe these traits will resonate with our players, our staff, and our fans. He has also been a big part of a very successful stretch in Los Angeles.”
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The Rangers reportedly interviewed 11 candidates before deciding on Woodward. In addition to his experience on major league coaching staffs, the Rangers appreciate Woodward’s use of modern analytics. He also has some managerial experience, leading team New Zealand while they were trying to qualify for the 2016 World Baseball Classic.
“We interviewed a number of strong candidates during an extensive interview process for our managerial role and believe we have found the right fit in Chris Woodward,” said Daniels. “We look forward to working with him and everyone on the baseball staff to develop and grow a culture that will lead to success for many years to come.”
As mentioned, Woodward is likely to oversee a large-scale rebuild in Texas. The Rangers have endured back-to-back losing seasons after winning the AL West in 2015 and 2016. This past season, the Rangers made a half-hearted effort to field a competitive team, only to finish 28 games under .500 and last in the division. Coming off a season like that, it’s possible that things could get worse before they get better.
The Rangers have a few young players who could be building blocks for the future. However, they may look to trade some of their remaining veterans to help rebuild an unimpressive farm system. With that in mind, the Rangers may not be set up to compete until the end of Woodward’s three-year contract. That will certainly alter expectations for Woodward early in his tenure. Needless to say, Woodward has his work cut out for him in his first job as a big league manager.