One Year Extension: Statement of Doubt or Confidence in Ron Washington?

Dec 9, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington talks to reporters during the MLB Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Rangers’ manager, Ron Washington, entered spring training this season on the last year of his deal. Despite being the franchise win leader (with 611) and bringing the Rangers to their only World Series appearances (2), the manager struggled to come to a deal with president Jon Daniels. Until yesterday.

On Monday the Rangers made a curious announcement –That Ron Washington would receive a 1 year contract extension.  This would push his dreaded lame duck status to next year and allow the manager a little more breathing room this season.

Wash has had his ups and downs with the Rangers. There are the previously mentioned accolades but also a few mild blemishes on his record as well. There is obviously the positive drug test. Not to mention the lost World Series of 2011 (in which the game/series was seemingly in hand). The past two seasons the club took nosedives during the homestretch of the regular season, losing a 1 game Wild Card contest in 2012 and missing the playoffs altogether in 2013.

Fans have been split but a growing and vocal majority seem to be looking to replace the gut-instinct driven skipper. For those people, news of this extension is probably upsetting. But they’re not alone.

The Pro-Wash fanbase tout his success and explain the causes of his team’s back-to-back collapses weren’t his fault. I’m not exactly sure they are very happy with a 1 year extension either.

That’s what makes this so curious.

Assuming lame duck status is something both sides wish to avoid, why would the Rangers only push the problem one year? Maybe it’s not an organizational decision. Maybe Wash was asking for a mega deal and one year was all they could agree on.

But why would Wash want to do that considering how fragile the pitching situation seems this season? I sure wouldn’t want to base my livelihood on the Rangers of 2014. The starting rotation could be disastrous for the Rangers (and Ron’s job security).

Feb 18, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels speaks to the media during MLB media day at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We really have to assume one year was all Jon Daniels wanted to commit to. It seems Daniels is still unsure about his manager. At this point Ron Washington has managed the Rangers for seven years – 2014 will be his eighth. I think we all know who he is and what he brings to this team. Why doesn’t Daniels?

Either Wash is the problem or he’s not. He hasn’t changed much and he doesn’t seem likely to change in the future. If Jon Daniels doesn’t know him by now, he may never.

Is Washington suddenly a good manager if Harrison bounces back in tremendous fashion, Feliz becomes the closer we all wished he could have, Holland, Lewis, and Hanson all contribute to a solid rotation, and Perez raises his game to the next level? Is he a bad manager if none of that happens?

Don’t get me wrong, a 1 year extension is safe move and certainly better than no move at all. And if Daniels really is still unsure about his manager, then it’s the smart move too. I just have a hard time believing that. A very curious extension indeed.

Topics: Jon Daniels, Ron Washington, Texas Rangers

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