By Lew Patton
Last September, Ron Washington abruptly resigned as Rangers manager, citing a need to work on his marriage as a result of an extramarital affair. Now he tells the New Orleans Advocate that he wants back in the game. It’s not going well, however:
He has had a difficult time getting major league teams to care. He’s reached out to a few teams, he said, but hasn’t gotten a response. Washington, who built his reputation as an infield instructor, developing Gold Glove players with the Oakland Athletics such as six-time winner Eric Chavez and shortstop Miguel Tejada, said he would just like to get back in the game.
“My whole presence is just to help, and I have a passion for baseball,” he said. “So, if that’s managing, certainly. If that’s as a third base coach, certainly. If it’s a roving instructor, wherever the game has to offer, I have something to offer the game.”
Washington’s resignation was sudden, unexpected and, given that he had already weathered the revelation of his cocaine use several years prior, somewhat surprising. Having won two pennants and clearly having the trust of the Rangers’ organization suggests that, if Washington needed time to sort things out, the club would’ve allowed him to do so short of his resignation.
But somewhat less surprising is the trouble Washington is having getting back in the game. Baseball gives a lot of second (and third and fourth and . . .) chances, but it seems particularly difficult for managers who quit their jobs, whatever the reason. I’m put in mind of Mike Hargrove, who quit his job as the Mariners manager in the middle of the 2007 season citing stress. Or Jim Riggleman who quit his job as Nationals manager in 2011 in the middle of a contract dispute. Hargrove has had some invites to spring training and various minor baeseball titles. Riggleman has managed in the minors since. Neither has had a chance to manager in the bigs again.
Washington is well-liked in the game and, in the linked articles, says he’s not hung up on managing but, rather, would be a roving instructor, base coach or the like. One hopes that, assuming his personal issues are behind him, someone would be willing to give a job to a guy who has always had success in what he’s done and who is well-liked in and around the game.