Rangers Notes: Young, Jung, Venable

It’s been a tumultuous week in the world of the Texas Rangers, with manager Chris Woodward getting fired on Monday and president of baseball operations Jon Daniels following him out the door on Wednesday. With the departure of Daniels, general manager Chris Young took over as the chief baseball decision maker in Texas. However, Young apparently didn’t see this changed role coming, with the club’s managing partner Ray Davis telling Kennedi Landry of MLB.com that Young was “shocked” by the dismissal of Daniels.

It’s certainly been an unusual journey for Young in recent years. The 43-year-old former big league hurler pitched through the 2017 season and even signed a minor league deal with the Padres for 2018. He was eventually released and was hired by MLB in May of that year to be a vice president of on-field operations. Just over two years later, December of 2020, he was hired to be the Rangers’ general manager. In the tweet above, Landry relays that he and Daniels had been working pretty much side-by-side since then. Given his less than two years of experience working for the front office of a major league baseball team, it seems fair to assume that he learned a lot from Daniels, who was hired to be the Rangers’ general manager 17 years ago. Given that difference in their respective résumés, it’s hardly surprising that Young was taken off-guard by the news, suddenly finding himself atop the decision making pyramid after such a short time on the job.

Young spoke to Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News about his hectic week. “I was trying to make sure that collectively, everybody, especially the longest-tenured employees, had a show of support in terms of just knowing the emotions they are going through,” Young said. “But I want to keep everybody focused on the task at hand. We have great things happening.”

Young was also asked about the future plans for the front office, perhaps hiring a new president of baseball operations or maybe a new general manager with Young getting promoted to the POBO role. “We’ll assess our needs as we go,” Young said on that topic. “It’s a natural part of the seasonal cycle. We will see what our needs are, what it looks like moving forward. We’ll probably lose some good employees to other organizations. That is just part of the hiring process. The first steps are making sure we get all our ducks lined up. But it will be part of the discussion.” With the offseason now just over two months away, Young will have to act quickly to align those ducks.

Other notes out of Texas…

  • A promotion of prospect Josh Jung doesn’t appear to be close, with interim manager Tony Beasley saying as much to Jeff Wilson of Rangerstoday.com. This past winter, the young third baseman seemed like a candidate to crack the club’s Opening Day roster or at least make his major league debut shortly after. However, he required shoulder surgery in February, which was expected to keep him out of action for six months and thereby kick his debut down the road. He began a rehab assignment at the end of July and has been tearing the cover off the ball ever since. In eight games in the Complex League, he hit .240/.345/.600, followed by seven Triple-A games with a line of .414/.485/1.034. That’s an incredible showing in that small sample, but the club considers this to be Jung’s Spring Training, which means they’re focused on getting his body re-acclimated to regular playing time. That news might be disappointing to fans of the club who are looking forward to seeing Jung tackle big league pitching before the offseason begins. However, it’s worth pointing out that these things can change quickly. Just a few days ago, the Mets insisted they weren’t promoting their own young third baseman, Brett Baty, before announcing the very next day that he was indeed getting called up. Jung isn’t yet on the 40-man roster but will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft in a few months, meaning the Rangers will need to add him soon either way.
  • With Woodward’s firing, the club will have to think about who they want to be in the manager’s chair next year. Jon Heyman of the New York Post tweets that Red Sox bench coach Will Venable is one potential candidate. The 39-year-old played nine seasons in the majors, mostly with the Padres, before transitioning into other roles. In 2017, he joined the Cubs, first as a special assistant to president Theo Epstein, then spending some time as first base coach and third base coach. He became the Red Sox bench coach prior to the 2021 season and has been in that job since. This wouldn’t be the first time his name has been floated in managerial rumors, as he was connected to the Cubs, Giants and Astros prior to 2020, the Tigers and Red Sox prior to 2021 and the A’s prior to 2022. Given that repeated interest, it seems he has a strong reputation around the league and could get consideration for vacancies again this winter. In addition to the Rangers, the Blue Jays, Phillies and Angels have fired their managers and hired interim replacements this year.

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