Daniels' managerial search sure to be thorough

Texas GM sought advice from around the Majors when hiring Washington in 2006

Daniels' managerial search sure to be thorough

OAKLAND -- When Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was considering hiring Ron Washington back in 2006, he was concerned about bringing on a manager who might have a tendency to speak his mind on almost any subject. So Daniels sought the counsel of White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, who had his own loquacious manager in Ozzie Guillen.

The details of the conversation are not pertinent eight years later. The salient point is that in seeking out Williams, it shows that when it comes to a managerial search, Daniels is going to be as thorough as possible.

Daniels is in that same mode now as he begins the search for a permanent replacement for Washington. Tim Bogar is serving as interim manager to the end of the season and is a strong candidate to come back in 2015.

But nothing is guaranteed. Daniels made it clear that the search will include outside candidates.

"Tim is a real good candidate," Daniels said. "But if he is our manager, it will be a lot more meaningful if we went through a thorough search first."

The search has begun.

"We were not anticipating looking for a manager so we weren't really prepared," Daniels said. "We are doing a lot of due diligence, talking to a lot of other people in the game and getting a lot of incoming calls recommending people. We're in the stage of vetting those names and see who we want to talk to."

Bogar is not the only internal candidate. Pitching coach Mike Maddux and Triple-A manager Steve Buechele will also get consideration. First-base coach Bengie Molina has managerial aspirations but this is only his second year as a big league coach after retiring following the 2010 season. He probably hasn't built up the experience needed, although one of the latest trends in baseball has been hiring former players -- Brad Ausmus, Mike Matheny -- with no experience.

Daniels could be unpredictable. In 2006, he quietly inquired with the Twins about the possibility of Tom Kelly coming out of retirement. Daniels dropped the matter when told Kelly, who led the Twins to World Series titles in 1987 and 1991, preferred to stay retired.

Daniels ended up interviewing five candidates: Don Wakamatsu, Trey Hillman, Manny Acta, John Russell and Washington.

At the time, Wakamatsu was the clear favorite. He had been on previous manager Buck Showalter's staff and had a tight relationship with Daniels. The search appeared perfunctory although Hillman, who had spent a year as the Rangers' farm director, was considered the candidate who might beat out Wakamatsu.

Washington was perceived as a long shot, included in the process to satisfy Commissioner Bud Selig's edict that minority candidates be considered for any significant leadership opening. By the way, that edict is still in force today.

The perception of Washington's candidacy was completely wrong. Washington gave a strong interview. Daniels was impressed by his force of personality and felt he was just what was needed to change the Rangers' clubhouse atmosphere.

Washington had a rough first two years and was close to being dismissed in the first month of the 2008 season by then-owner Tom Hicks and club president Nolan Ryan. Daniels stood behind his managerial choice and won the day. Two years later the Rangers were in the World Series.

Now, Daniels wants to get it right one more time and find the right person who can help get the Rangers headed back in the right direction. He wants a partner who will invest himself in the organization.

Bogar could be that person, but the search will be thorough and nothing there is guaranteed.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.