Showalter won't manage Rangers in 2007
ARLINGTON, Texas -- While Buck Showalter wasn't the only person to blame for the Texas Rangers missing the playoffs again, the manager got fired for it.
|W-L that season||79-65||85-77|
|That postseason||Lost ALDS||None|
|Won (1996)||Won (2001)|
"There's a shared responsibility there, some of which is Buck's, some of which is mine, and a good deal to the players," general manager Jon Daniels said Wednesday. "This is an organizational goal to win. When we don't do it, it falls on all of us."
The ax fell on Showalter after his fourth season, an 80-82 mark that was the Rangers' sixth losing record in seven years since last making the playoffs in 1999 despite a roster with several young All-Stars.
Daniels, the 29-year-old GM who was the youngest ever in the major leagues when he was hired a year ago Wednesday, recommended Showalter's firing and reached a mutual decision with owner Tom Hicks before a planned dinner among the trio Tuesday night.
"This decision was not based exclusively on the '06 season and our lack of accomplishing our goals," Daniels said. "It's more about looking forward, and what gives us the chance to achieve those goals ... I'm very confident that we made the right decision."
Showalter was 319-329 with the Rangers, his third managerial job, and is owed $5.1 million for the three seasons left on his contract. Texas never finished above third place.
"You never heard me make an excuse all year, and I'm not going to start now. We just didn't get it done," Showalter told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "They want to go in a new direction with a new voice. With the shelf life of managers, I feel fortunate."
Daniels acknowledged that he would be looking for a different kind of communicator, but downplayed what impact any players' discontentment with Showalter and the manager's hands-on approach had with the decision.
"That was nothing that was ever communicated to me," Daniels said. "I didn't have any direct conversations with the players."
Showalter was the AL manager of the year only two years ago, when AL MVP Alex Rodriguez was traded in the spring and the Rangers went on to contend for a playoff spot until the final few games of the season.
The Rangers were 89-73 in 2004, the fourth-best record in team history and an 18-win improvement over 2003. They finished only three games back in the AL West, but still in third place behind the division-winning Angels and Oakland.
But the Rangers couldn't build off the momentum of that unexpected playoff chase. They backtracked last year with 79 victories, and were only one game better than that this season.
Hicks didn't attend the news conference announcing the decision, but said in a statement that he had "the utmost respect" for Showalter.
"He is extraordinarily committed to the game of baseball, and he has been an excellent representative of the Texas Rangers," Hicks said.
Showalter is the fifth manager to lose his job since the end of the regular season, joining Joe Girardi (Florida), Dusty Baker (Chicago Cubs), Frank Robinson (Washington) and Felipe Alou (San Francisco).
Girardi, the potential NL manager of the year and a candidate to replace Baker in Chicago, could also be pursued by the Rangers. Current bench coach Don Wakamatsu and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo could be candidates as well.
Daniels wouldn't discuss specific candidates or a timetable.
While several other teams are also looking for managers, Daniels said he would be thorough and "not rush into a decision that's too important."
The 50-year-old Showalter, whose contract was extended after the 2005 season, has an overall record of 882-833, including four seasons with the New York Yankees (1992-95) and three in Arizona (1998-00). He said he hasn't decided if he wants to pursue another managerial job.
The Yankees and Diamondbacks won the World Series the season after Showalter's tenure ended. The Arizona championship in 2001 ended the Yankees' run of three titles in four years.
"They're on an upswing," Showalter said of the Rangers.
Texas this season spent more than two months atop the AL West despite never being more than six games above .500, then were out of first place for good a week after the All-Star break. The Rangers had a losing record at home (39-42) for the first time since 1997.
Showalter's replacement will inherit a roster that includes three-time All-Star shortstop Michael Young, switch-hitting slugger and Gold Glove first baseman Mark Teixeira, two-time All-Star third baseman Hank Blalock, closer Akinori Otsuka and Kevin Millwood, the No. 1 starting pitcher with four years left on his contract.
"I had choices to make and chose Arlington. I would do the same thing over again," Showalter said. "These are good people. I had a heck of a seat the last four years, watching Mike Young and these guys play every day."
The Rangers also have nine potential free agents, including Carlos Lee, the two-time All-Star outfielder acquired from Milwaukee before the trade deadline in late July.
Other likely free agents include Gary Matthews Jr., the All-Star center fielder and leadoff hitter who had a breakout season, six-position starter Mark DeRosa, catcher Rod Barajas, and starting pitchers Vicente Padilla and Adam Eaton.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press