Thursday newsletter time: Ron Washington is back … with a Rangers division rival
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
The biggest news in baseball Wednesday from the GM Meetings was that Ron Washington is back managing an MLB team.
The Angels, more than two decades removed their only world title and known more these days for stepping on rakes instead of stepping toward the postseason, hired the former Rangers manager to steady their misguided ship.
Washington hasn’t been a manager since 2014, when he suddenly left the Rangers to tend to a personal matter. He didn’t want to leave and has wanted to be a manager ever since. Nine years was too stiff a penalty from baseball teams who shied away from him, most notably the Padres.
Washington’s time with the Braves, which included him winning the World Series in 2021 as their third-base coach, helped repair his image. Washington never stopped being a good baseman man, and Braves players and coaches all believed Washington should manage again.
He’s getting that opportunity with an Angels team that is likely to lose Shohei Ohtani to free agency, that is carrying dead weight in Anthony Rendon and that could be entering into a rebuilding phase. Washington will take whatever nine guys he has each game and expect to win.
He will teach the young players, try to shake up the veterans who have grown stagnant and will bunt and hit-and-run and straight steal.
The Rangers will see Washington 13 times a season in American League West play. Their first encounter is scheduled for May 17-19 at Globe Life Field.
He’s 71 now but still has the fire that endeared him to the Rangers and fans.
He deserves this chance.
GM meetings ailments
The word from the GM Meetings is that a stomach bug is making its way through the fancy-pants resort where team officials have convened, and MLB was so concerned that it nearly ended the meetings early.
The Rangers’ bullpen during the regular season turned stomachs, and Chris Young told reporters that upgrading the relief corps is a high priority. The Rangers exercised their $6.25 million option on Jose Leclerc, who enters the offseason at closer after a strong run to the World Series. Josh Sborz, who was even better, will have a prominent role.
Young reminded the media that there are more ways than just free agency to add help. The Rangers could strike a trade for relief arm or find a match on the waiver wire. The Rangers added Sborz in 2021 in a trade with the Dodgers after they had designated him for assignment.
The Rangers also have interest in speaking to left-hander Jordan Montgomery, Young said. Re-signing Montgomery would strengthen the rotation and potentially relegate a good starter to the bullpen or a swing role. Dane Dunning handled it very well in 2023.
As of now, the rotation includes right-handers Nathan Eovaldi, Max Scherzer, Jon Gray and Dunning and left-hander Andrew Heaney.
For those of you who watched the Country Music Association Awards on Wednesday night (I did not), you might have recognized one of the presenters for Single of the Year.
It was Corey Seager.
Life is good as World Series MVP, apparently. The CMAs take place in Nashville, where Seager and his wife reside.
Seager really isn’t the type who seeks out the spotlight. He does like country music, though, or at least his walk-up song is a country tune — “For The Streets” by Rvshvd.
For the record, almost all of my favorite country’s artists, starting with Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Marty Robbins, are dead.
We’re family here, so it’s time for some honesty: Rangers Today has taken it easy this week. Not easy, as some freelance stories popped up that I wanted to do, but we didn’t travel to the GM Meetings and haven’t written anything beyond the daily newsletter. That will change this weekend. But we do have a few reminders for you guys, the first of which is to get full access to the website. It’s soooooo cheap. Do it here, and check out our other items at the links below in case you missed it.
The Sunday Read: Free agency opens
At Long Last: A Rangers Today commemorative book
In the Clutch Apparel: Enter RANGERSTODAY at checkout for a discount
Me, with no more baseball to watch. Enjoy.
Mood.. 😅 pic.twitter.com/hXLqrTLOuC
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) November 4, 2023