Banister won't manage in Arizona Fall League after all

Pirates bench coach -- a top candidate for Rangers' skipper opening -- did not want to be distraction

Banister won't manage in Arizona Fall League after all

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tyler Glasnow was on the mound, Elias Diaz was behind the plate and Josh Bell was at first base Monday night when the Scottsdale Scorpions hosted Mesa in Arizona Fall League action.

So the must-see Pirates prospects were in place. One key individual, however, was missing from the pregame plate huddle with umpires: Jeff Banister, scheduled to manage Scottsdale, was not present -- and won't be for the rest of the AFL schedule.

This could be a good omen for Banister, who is a candidate for Texas' managerial opening. The Buccos bench coach did not want that ongoing process to be a distraction to the young players here.

Banister -- who did not manage any of the Scorpions' games as the Texas interview process proceeded -- has passed off the Scottsdale reins to Frank Kremblas, the special assistant to Pittsburgh Minor League operations director Larry Broadway.

Speaking via phone from his offseason home, Banister would not interpret his decision to stay away as a positive sign of his prospects of landing his first big-league managerial job with the Rangers.

"All I can say for now, out of respect to [Texas GM Joe Daniels] and his entire staff, it's still an ongoing process," Banister said. "I did have a tremendous time with them in Texas. That's a great group of baseball men, really passionate about the game. We had a good conversation, and I could tell they love to talk baseball."

Banister was included among eight interviewed to replace Ron Washington, who in early September resigned for personal reasons from the position he held for eight years. Significantly, none of the eight have prior Major League managerial experience -- with the short-term exception of Tim Bogar, who guided the Rangers to the wire on an interim basis and is considered a frontrunner for the job.

Banister, however, is also regarded as a finalist. The six others up for the job include Triple-A manager Steve Buechele, Indians coach Kevin Cash, former infielder Alex Cora, Boston coach Torey Lovullo, Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux and White Sox coach Joe McEwing.

"It was a wonderful opportunity, wherever they go," Banister said. "I was blessed to talk baseball with a group of men with such a passion for their organization. They're looking for a man to come in and partner and have a good time with them."

As for declining the opportunity to manage a Scorpions team that includes a half-dozen members of the Pirates organization, Banister stayed away "out of respect to them."

"Frank has been with these kids from the outset, so he deserves the opportunity to continue working with them," Banister said.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.