By Martin Iheke
Well, I did not see this one coming. General Manager Jon Daniels has decided on Jeff Banister becoming the next manager for the Texas Rangers. Most folks including myself thought Tim Bogar would get the job after an impressive 14-8 record to end the season as interim manager and his familiarity with the current players for this past year. Apparently Daniels wanted to go in a different direction. Banister, 49, comes from spending 29 seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization including being a minor league field coordinator and the last four years as a bench coach according to ESPN.com.
Whether this hire will be good or not remains to be seen. From the looks of it, Banister is highly thought of around baseball and that has to be a good thing. Clint Hurdle, who is the current manager of the Pirates and spent one year as the hitting coach for the Rangers back in 2010 when they went to the World Series for the first time, must think so. This might be one of the reasons why Daniels decided to go with Banister because of his trust with Hurdle in his brief time here. Like any other new coach or manager, I am willing to give this guy a chance to see if he can take the Rangers to the next level.
Banister will have his hands full on deciding where to place young phenom Jurickson Profar with Elvis Andrus at shortstop and the excellent play of Rougned Odor at second. Odor filled in well with Profar out for all of last season. The return of Prince Fielder solidifies fist base but the outfield has some questions that Banister will need to address with the departure of Alex Rios and the oft injured Shin-Soo Choo. Also looming is what to do at the catcher position and starting rotation that was held together by Band-Aids last season.