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Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”
The Texas Rangers fired manager Chris Woodward on Monday amid a season of unsatisfactory progress despite the investment of more than half a billion dollars guaranteed in the free agent market over the winter, the team announced.
The Rangers sit in third place in the American League in West with a 51-63 record. Woodward, after his fourth straight year with a losing mark, will be replaced by third baseman coach Tony Beasley, who has been named interim manager until the end of the 2022 season.
“Chris Young and I had the very difficult task of informing Chris Woodward of our decision today,” Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels said in a statement. “During his tenure as manager of the Rangers, Chris has worked tirelessly under sometimes difficult circumstances. He has been dedicated and passionate in his efforts to improve the Texas Rangers’ on-field performance, and that is much appreciated. He represented the organization with class and dignity.
“We have had long discussions over the last few weeks and while the current performance of the team is certainly a big part of this decision, we are also looking for in the future. As the Rangers continue to develop a winning culture and put the pieces together to compete for the playoffs year after year, we felt a change in leadership was needed at this time.
“On behalf of the entire Texas Rangers organization, we thank Chris and wish him and his family the best as coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers. – Marcus Semien and Jon Gray last winter raised expectations after a 60-102 season in 2021. While Rangers have played much better this year, with a nearly even point differential, their 6-24 record in one-inning games would be the second-worst single-season winning percentage in such finishes since 1900, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Texas in November awarded Woodward a contract extension that covered the 2023 season and included a 2024 option. The Rangers hired Woodward in November 2018 after coaching with Seattle and the Dodgers following a 12-year career as a utility.
He arrived in Texas to replace Jeff Banister, who had won division titles in his first two seasons after replacing Ron Washington, but struggled to finish in last place in 2018. Rangers hoped Woodward would stabilize the role as the organization went through a rebuild, which produced a start better than expected in 2019 as Texas went 78-84. But the last places in the shortened COVID-19 season and last year prompted Rangers to accelerate their schedule in the open market.
While they have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, adding Seager at $325 million and Semien at $175 million to form their midfield of a half a billion dollars was the move intended to push the Rangers into at least one near conflict. Seager and Semien’s slow starts have eased — they combined for nearly six wins over substitution — but the Texas pitcher ranks in the league’s bottom third in ERA and offers independent pitching.
The new manager inherits a Rangers team with plenty to dream about, especially if the team hits the free agent market this winter with cash to spend and a starting pitcher to acquire. Rangers considered several options at the trade deadline, including swapping to start shooting and even going after Juan Soto, but they have retained a farm system that showcases a wide range of talent at the higher end levels. With Seager and Semien, center fielder Adolis Garcia, receiver Jonah Heim, Gray — and possibly left-hander Martin Perez, with whom the Rangers have discussed an extension — a core that Texas can build around exists.
Finding a manager to get the most out of the club in a division with a Houston Astros team that is perpetually competitive and a Seattle Mariners team on the rise is now the objective. Texas revamped its coaching staff over the winter, and now comes the most significant hire yet in a manager that the organization hopes can accomplish what Woodward failed to do: a return to the glory days from 2010 to 2016, when the Rangers made the playoffs five times. in seven years.