Three Thoughts about the Texas Rangers Finalizing their Coaching Staff

Texas Rangers’ Manager Jeff Banister

The Texas Rangers have finally filled the rest of their available coaching staff spots. They hired former reliever Doug Brocail as their pitching coach and Anthony Iapoce as their hitting coach on Thursday.

Brocail pitched in the majors for 15 seasons and was then Houston’s pitching coach from 2011–13. Last season he was the pitching coach for their Double-A team.

Iapoce spent the last three years overseeing the Chicago Cubs’ minor league hitting program as a special assistant.

There are three things that come to mind when I saw the new coaches: Mike Maddux is gone and that’s sad, Jeff Banister likes the coaches who were there before he was, and is Banister hedging his bet by hiring so many people?

First off let’s talk about Mike Maddux. After seven successful seasons, former Rangers pitching coach Maddux didn’t return to the team. He was originally invited to return and was even offered a new contract by the team before the Rangers decided to go in a different direction.

Maddux was interested in returning but also wanted to look at other opportunities, which is what forced the Rangers hand. They just couldn’t wait around to watch him leave anyways. The Rangers had a 612–523 record with a 4.06 ERA with Maddux as the pitching coach.

Maddux is now the new pitching coach for the Washington Nationals and new manager Dusty Baker.

The next interesting part with these coaching changes for the Rangers goes all the way back to Banister’s interview with the Rangers to be the new manager. During his interview, the Rangers executives asked him who he’d like to see on his coaching staff. What Banister said was very interesting.

“I’ll answer that with a question,” he said. “Who in your organization deserves to be on the major league staff?”

Wait… what? That’s not usually how it works. Usually, a team hires a head coach or manager and then they hire their own staff. But that’s apparently not how Banister viewed it. When he got the job, he promoted three minor league coaches.

A year later, he stuck to that view. Banister promoted two Triple-A coaches to complete the on-field staff for next season.

The first one was Brad Holman, who takes over as the bullpen coach after being the pitching coach at Triple-A Round Rock.

The second was Justin Mashore, who is now the assistant hitting coach after being the hitting coach for Round Rock the last two seasons.

So, to recap, that means that of Banister’s nine-man field support staff, six of them have been in the Rangers’ player development system. Those being new replay coordinator Bobby Jones, Holman, Mashore, bench coach Steve Buechele, first-base coach Hector Ortiz Jr., and field coordinator Jayce Tingler.

Speaking of nine-man coaching staff… doesn’t that seem like, I don’t know, way too many coaches on a major league team? It may just be me (it probably is), but that feels closer to a football coaching staff than a baseball staff. All you really need is the manager, bench coach, hitting and pitching coach, and the first and third-base coach. Maybe I just don’t understand the nuances of the game (again, probably true), but that just seems a tad bit…much.

Maybe Banister’s trying to hedge his bet a little bit. It seems like he has an assistant for almost every position on his staff. Maybe he can use them as a scapegoat if things go wrong or promote them if he fires the actual coach. Who knows…

It does seem like the Rangers new coaches will bring some fire and energy to the team. Plus, I spent the whole year second-guessing Banister, and look how that ended up. So, I’ll let him have this one.

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