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Questions of burnout linger for the Braves and the Dodgers
  1. MLB

MLB - US Sports: What next for the Texas Rangers?

When Jon Daniels, president of baseball operations for the Texas Rangers, announced last week that the franchise had fired team manager Chris Woodward, at no point did he realise that his dismissal would follow just two days later.

General Manager Chris Young will inherit all of Daniels' responsibilities for the time being and third base coach Tony Beasley picked up the interim manager role. So why did the Rangers make the moves?

Was Westwood given a fair deal?

Westwood inherited a club on the decline and was tasked with guiding the team through an organisational change and yet they sacked him after two years in charge. The ownership invested over a half-billion dollars in free agent talent in the offseason. Managers are often the first people to go when things go 'south' but how many people expected the Rangers to be a playoff chasing team this season?

Speaking before being fired, Daniels told the official Texas Rangers' website about the sacking of Woodward: "We do think we can play better than our record and better than the way that we've played at times, and so that kind of leads to making a decision now, rather than waiting till the end of the year."

So it was more about how the team came about those losses rather than the actual number itself that made Woodward a sacking target.

Some comments came out that Woodward would not give certain players a verbal tongue-lashing if they required it and that the manager was too cool for his own good. Beasley is not expected to be the same.

Beasley has been the Rangers' third base coach since 2015 and has served as the infield coach and outfield coach. Beasley is well respected in the clubhouse and around the league and has been known in the past to have difficult conversations with under-performing players. The Texas Rangers it would appear need more of those conversations.

So why Daniels also?

Two days following the sacking of Woodward, Daniels was next to go. This was more unexpected than the team manager going. Young and Daniels were at the forefront of the rebuild and the plan was to improve the Rangers on the field and off incrementally in 2022 with eyes toward contention in 2023 and beyond.

However, it appears that some wanted more than the slow build-up that the Rangers were achieving. Investing $556 million in the offseason to land three free agents, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Jon Gray, the Rangers should have been better this season for sure.

Speaking to the official Texas Rangers' website following the dismissal of Daniels, Managing partner and majority owner Ray Davis said: "The bottom line is we have not had a winning record since 2016 and for much of that time have not been competitive in the A.L West Division.

"While I am certain we are heading in the right direction, I feel a change in the leadership of the baseball operations department will be beneficial going forward."

Daniels was hired in 2002 and three years later took over from John Hart as general manager. The Texas Rangers reached the World Series twice in 2010 and 2011 and were on the cusp of something at the start of the 2010s. However, since the start of the 2017 campaign, it has been losing season following losing season.

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Young takes the mantle

So Chris Young will try to do the job that Daniels did before him and try to transform a team mired in a multi-year slump into a contender. With team ownership now fully invested financially and expressing a desire to win, with the three big puzzle pieces already under contract for the foreseeable future and a farm system that has been rejuvenated by trading away much of the roster's big-league talent over the past few years.

Young will need the help of the front office team as he begins his tenure at the helm of baseball operations. Davis said that Young will have a 'running start' at the 2023 season, does this put pressure on a man so new to the job?

Speaking to the Athletic after the firings, Young said: "I can’t really even speak to the reasons for Ray's decision on the timing. That's his decision. I think most importantly, we're staying the course of our vision.

"We're going to focus on what we need to do right now, at the moment."

After 17 years as general manager, it won't be Daniels steering the ship though.

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