Bruce Bochy was sold on Rangers job quickly, especially on farm system’s promise
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
ARLINGTON — For seven hours earlier this month Chris Young sold the semi-retired Bruce Bochy, the winner of 2,003 games and three World Series as a major-league manager, on coming to work for the Texas Rangers.
The same Rangers who lost 102 and 94 games the past two major-league seasons and have zero World Series trophies.
Young took his case to Bochy’s home in Nashville, Tenn., where Bochy and wife Kim allowed the sales pitch to go on and on without kicking the salesman to the curb.
Bochy was interested, more than he had anticipated.
Young, the Rangers general manager, was even welcomed to come back about a week later. He brought along with some other salesmen, including owner Ray Davis, vice president Ross Fenstermaker and special assistant Michael Young.
Bochy was announced Friday as the Rangers’ new manager and on Monday he met the media for the first time. After the Rangers sold him he had to sell his wife on why, at 67 years old, he wanted/needed to come back.
“I know some have asked why,” Bochy said. “Well, the simple answer is I missed this game.”
The Rangers are going to make his baseball soul whole again, Bochy said, if their long-range plan comes to fruition. He loves the fact that the Rangers have a deep farm system and solid crop of young players, headed by third baseman Josh Jung.
The San Francisco Giants teams he guided to the World Series had a strong homegrown core that included catcher Buster Posey, right-handers Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, left-hander Madison Bumgarner, shortstop Brandon Crawford and first baseman Brandon Belt.
The Rangers have that potential.
“It’s not just the core players, but how deep their system is,” Bochy said. “That’s how you not only win but sustain winning is those kids come up through your system, and I think they’ve done a great job on their draft and developing these young kids and you’re starting to see it. …
“So I think that’s what excited me as much as anything is what what can happen even beyond next year.”
He likes the core players, of course. He saw plenty of second baseman Marcus Semien and shortstop Corey Seager in his final years with the Giants. Bochy acknowledged that the Rangers need to improve on the mound, and Davis again said that there will be enough money available for Young to make another splash in free agency.
Semien, one of a handful of players at Globe Life Field for the press conference, said the Bochy-budget combination are promising signs for 2023, but that the players still have to do their part.
“I think that it still comes down to what we do on the field,” Semien said. “But if he puts us in the right positions, I think we’ll do a lot better than we did last year.”
Young said didn’t get into specifics about who interviewed for the vacancy created Aug. 15 when Chris Woodward was fired, though he said that more than Bochy and interim manager Tony Beasley interviewed. It became apparent, though, that Bochy was interested and the feeling was mutual, so the search didn’t advance far.
Young also went with a manager with big-league experience, something many players wanted in the new manager on a trait that will serve a key resource for Young as he navigates his first full season overseeing baseball operations.
“I think a big part of this decision was me evaluating where I am and what my needs are specificly also in addition to what the organizational needs are,” he said. “Understanding that while there were very good candidates out there who have never managed before, for me in this moment having an experienced manager in the dugout not only suited me but I think is what is best for our organization and our players.”
The Rangers are holding their pro scounting meetings this week, and Bochy is diving into those. He said he’s all-in, and needs to be with a pitching coach to hire, coaching staff to get to know and players to bond with as soon as possible.
“When CY called me, to be honest, man, my interest perked up,” said Bochy, who was Young’s manager in 2006 in San Diego.
“And then we started talking and he checked my appetite in doing this and I listened to what he wanted to do here and his vision. So it was an easy one for me. I still had the fire and feel great. … I was excited. I was pumped. It’s exciting and I’m looking forward to going to work.”
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org