Wood­ward leaves Dodgers to be Rangers man­ager

The Tribune (SLO) (Sunday) - - Sports - BY STEPHEN HAWKINS

The Texas Rangers hired Los An­ge­les Dodgers third base coach Chris Wood­ward as their man­ager on Satur­day, six weeks af­ter Jeff Banis­ter was fired.

He re­ceived a three­year con­tract with a club op­tion for 2022. He will be in­tro­duced at a news con­fer­ence Mon­day.

Wood­ward in­her­its a team that went 67-95 and fin­ished last in the AL West, with the fo­cus turn­ing to the de­vel­op­ment of younger play­ers. Texas had its first con­sec­u­tive los­ing sea­sons since 2005-08.

The hir­ing ended a process dur­ing which gen­eral man­ager Jon Daniels and the Rangers in­ter­viewed more than 10 can­di­dates, in­clud­ing bench coach Don Waka­matsu af­ter he served as in­terim coach the fi­nal 10 games of the sea­son.

Wood­ward was in­ter­viewed this past week af­ter the Dodgers fin­ished their sec­ond straight sea­son in which they ad­vanced to the World Se­ries, los­ing both times. The last team be­fore Los An­ge­les that ap­peared in con­sec­u­tive World Se­ries without win­ning the ti­tle was Texas in 2010 and 2011.

“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,” Daniels said in a state­ment re­leased by the team. “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.”

Daniels has hired three man­agers in his 13 sea­sons as the Rangers GM, and all were first-time MLB man­agers. Texas won its only Amer­i­can League pen­nants dur­ing Ron Wash­ing­ton’s eight sea­sons be­fore Banis­ter won two AL West ti­tles in his four sea­sons.

Two can­di­dates Texas in­ter­viewed were hired last month as man­agers by other teams, David Bell in Cincin­nati and Rocco Baldelli in Min­nesota.

Wood­ward, 42, spent the past three years on the staff of man­ager Dave Roberts, af­ter work­ing for Seat­tle the pre­vi­ous three years. He started his coach­ing ca­reer as mi­nor league in­field co­or­di­na­tor for the Mariners in 2013, then joined their big league staff later that year. He was Seat­tle’s in­field coach in 2014 and the first base coach in 2015.

“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,” Daniels said. “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.”

As a player, Wood­ward spent 12 sea­sons (19992011) with five teams – Toronto, the New York Mets, Seat­tle, At­lanta and Bos­ton. He hit .239 with 33 home runs and 191 RBIs while play­ing every po­si­tion ex­cept pitcher and catcher.

Wood­ward was team­mates with Adrian Bel­tre for a short pe­riod dur­ing the 2009 sea­son with the Mariners. Bel­tre, who has 3,166 ca­reer hits, just com­pleted his 21st big league sea­son and hasn’t said yet if he will play next year.

When Bel­tre went on the dis­abled list dur­ing the 2009 sea­son, Wood­ward started 13 games at third base in his place. Soon af­ter Bel­tre’s re­turn that Au­gust, Wood­ward was se­lected off waivers by the Bos­ton Red Sox.

The Rangers went 87-75 in 2009 be­fore their two World Se­ries sea­sons, then lost in the AL’s first one-and-done wild-card game in 2012. They ended the 2013 reg­u­lar sea­son with a loss to Tampa Bay in a wild-card tiebreaker.

When Banis­ter was fired Sept. 21 with 10 games left in this sea­son, Daniels ac­knowl­edged that the de­ci­sion wasn’t based on the record and said in­stead that it was time for a new voice in lead­er­ship. Banis­ter was un­der con­tract through next sea­son.

Wood­ward is a na­tive of Cov­ina, Calif., as is Michael Young, the Rangers ca­reer leader in hits and games played who is now a spe­cial as­sis­tant to the gen­eral man­ager. They are the same age but played at dif­fer­ent high schools.

Chris Wood­ward

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