Rangers hope to hire manager by World Series

GM Daniels lays out offseason plans as club wraps up trying season

Rangers hope to hire manager by World Series

ARLINGTON -- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said finding a manager is his first order of business this offseason. Interim manager Tim Bogar, Triple-A manager Steve Buechele and pitching coach Mike Maddux will be interviewed, as well as a handful of candidates from the outside the organization.

Daniels has already talked to other organizations about possible candidates, but he has not formally requested permission to interview anyone. Daniels is hoping to hire a new manager by the World Series.

Daniels, meeting with the media after Sunday's season-ending 4-0 loss to the Athletics, said Bogar is a strong candidate but that it is in everybody's best interest to conduct a thorough search and make sure the Rangers hire the right person. The Rangers were 14-8 under Bogar after he replaced Ron Washington.

"It's important to go through the process," Daniels said. "There is a lot more conviction among the players, staff, fans, other people if we have gone through the process and he is clearly the guy. He has made the most of his opportunity but we are going to go through a thorough process."

There is a possibility that Bogar, Buechele and Maddux could be candidates for other organization's managerial openings. Buechele has already spoken with the Astros, and Bogar is expected to be a strong candidate there as well. He has twice interviewed with Houston in the past. The D-backs are also looking for a new manager.

"I hope our guys are called [by other teams]," Daniels said. "As far as the timing, you work it the best you can. We're not going to stand in anybody's way unless we are in position to make a similar offer."

The Rangers' record under Bogar will not be a big factor in the final decision. But Daniels was impressed with Bogar's ability to communicate, create a winning atmosphere and get some of the young players to perform well, especially Leonys Martin. Bogar's in-game strategy was also sound, Daniels said.

"JD and I have already talked about it," Bogar said. "It didn't matter if I went 0-22 or 22-0. It was a lot more about all the other intangibles that go along with this job. He has to be comfortable with someone that he can have a relationship and work at the same level, that the manager is going to take an interest in the organization, not only the Major League team, but the scouting department, Minor Leagues, everything like that.

"Yeah, has this three weeks been great? Yeah, it really has. I think it can't hurt me, but I knew going in it had no bearing on his decision."

Once the Rangers get a manager in place, the club will address the coaching staff. The new manager will have input into that, although changes will likely be minimal if Bogar gets the job.

Then the Rangers will start putting together their team for 2015. Daniels said the No. 1 priority will be adding to a rotation that already includes Yu Darvish and Derek Holland. The Rangers want to bring back Colby Lewis and have touched base with his agent, Alan Nero. They are likely to have further conversations this week.

Nick Martinez and Nick Tepesch are strong candidates for two spots in the rotation, but the Rangers understand the need for competition and depth. This is a deep free-agent market for starting pitching, a list topped by Max Scherzer, James Shields and Jon Lester.

"We like a lot of the guys on the list," Daniels said. "I don't expect to play at the top end of free agency for a variety of reasons, but there will be other ways to acquire quality starting pitching."

Other priorities include possibly one other bat in the corner outfield. The Rangers are not expected to pick up the option on Alex Rios. Instead they will likely move Shin-Soo Choo to right field and address left field. They have multiple internal candidates in Ryan Rua, Jake Smolinski, Michael Choice, Daniel Robertson and Jim Adduci but will look outside the organization as well.

The Rangers will also look for left-handed relief and a catcher to share the duties with Robinson Chirinos. The Rangers played well in the final three weeks of the season. But Daniels said the Rangers will not let that sway them too much in their offseason work.

"It was energizing and fun," Daniels said. "I loved to see the energy and the way our guys played the game. But we're not going to make decisions based on 20 games."

The task is to rebuild a team that went 67-95, the fifth worst record in club history. The Rangers were clobbered by injuries, but Daniels didn't put all the blame on that.

"We left ourselves exposed," Daniels said. "I didn't expect the injuries to come with quite the frequency and severity as they did, but they did. And we should have been prepared to handle it, and we weren't.

"We fell short for a variety of reasons, no one thing in particular. It starts with myself, decisions I've made and we made as an organization. Certainly at the lowest point of the summer, when kind of the writing was on the wall and we were out of it, disappointing, and I think, at times, we were embarrassed."

The Rangers have much work to do this season. But Daniels said the goal is the same.

"I expect that we're going to win next year," Daniels said. "The years of hoping and praying are gone. That's are expectation, that's what we're going to build towards, and that's the culture and atmosphere we're going to create, ownership straight down through the organization."

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.