Ron Washington signs 2-year deal
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Manager Ron Washington has a new two-year contract, making him the skipper of the Texas Rangers through the 2012 season.
The club and Washington finalized the deal in a meeting Thursday morning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington that included club president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels.
"I want to thank the Texas Rangers organization for an opportunity to lead this group for two more years and hopefully further," Washington said. "I had guys that Jon supplied me with that were baseball rats, guys that had a deep passion for the game the same way I have a deep passion for the game. It was easy to go out and be part of it. I want to thank this organization for believing in me, for supporting me and supporting everything we've done down there on the field."
Washington is tied with Buck Showalter for the third-most regular-season games (648) as manager of the Rangers. He is behind only Johnny Oates and Bobby Valentine on the all-time franchise list. Washington has 331 regular-season wins, the third most in club history, and his .511 career winning percentage is second-best by any Rangers manager.
Washington was the first manager to lead the Rangers to a playoff series victory as the club won Game 5 of the ALDS in Tampa. He then helped steer the team to the World Series with a six-game victory over the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.
"The first thing we wanted to do was making sure our field leaders and our manager was locked up and taken care of," Daniels said. "We're not in the postseason; we're not in the World Series without his leadership. What he's done from day one of changing the culture, creating a winning atmosphere, creating a winning expectation has been enormous.
"He has tremendous passion, love for the game, respect for the game, respect of the players. Our team feeds off that. It's no accident that we were a resilient club. That's what he brings."
Washington said Wednesday that he was disappointed his team didn't win the World Series, but he was eager to attempt to achieve that goal in 2011.
"It was a wonderful year," Washington said. "We came together as an organization, came together as a group. We did what we had to do to survive and make it to the World Series. We're disappointed we didn't win it, but definitely have a foundation to build on. We expect to be back."
Washington is one of only four current managers who have led teams to increased win totals in each of the past three years (Cincinnati's Dusty Baker, Philadelphia's Charlie Manuel and San Francisco's Bruce Bochy are the others). The Rangers reached the 90-win plateau in 2010 for the first time since 1999.
The defense-minded Washington, who was the Oakland Athletics' third-base coach for 10 seasons, was hired by the Rangers in 2007, beating out four other candidates for the position: Manny Acta, John Russell, Don Wakamatsu and Trey Hillman.
Daniels and then-owner Tom Hicks were won over by Washington's passion, ability to motivate and dogged pursuit of a fundamentally sound team built on pitching and defense.
When Ryan arrived, the new president liked how Washington had a team that played hard every night. But it wasn't all smooth sailing for the skipper.
Washington's 2008 team got off to a 7-16 start and was on the hot seat. But the club improved and went on to finish the season with momentum. Then in the middle of the 2009 season, Washington failed a drug test and admitted using cocaine. Daniels and Ryan felt Washington was honest and had owned up to the mistake and they decided to stick with him. When the admission became public in spring training in 2010, Washington's players attended his news conference and rallied to his support.
Washington's 2010 team jumped in front in the AL West on June 8 and never fell behind. A 21-6 record in June helped build the lead, and the Rangers ended up clinching in Oakland with more than a week left in the season.
"He did a great job," team captain Michael Young said Wednesday. "He's the manager of the American champions. People talk about players and write about players, but the manager did [an] incredible job this year. We really fed off of him and I hope he fed off of us.
"He did a great job. Anything he gets right now, he deserves."