Ron Washington is now the winningest manager in Texas Rangers history. He is the only manager to lead the Rangers to a playoff series victory and a World Series appearance.
He has led the Rangers to three straight playoff appearances and appears to have the Rangers headed toward a fourth. He’s managed under the specter of bankruptcy hearings and his own admission of cocaine use.
So, naturally one would assume he has been American League manager of the year at least once, right?
Well, technically, yes. He was named the AL manager of the year in 2010 and 2011. His honor in 2010 came from the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of American.
His 2011 award came from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. But the big award, the one we talk about every fall? Nope.
The Rangers gave him the pieces. Ron Washington is pulling the right strings.
The 2010 season when the Rangers were in bankruptcy half the season and they won the AL West and reached the World Series for the first time? Ron Gardenhire of Minnesota.
The 2011 season when the Rangers repeated as American League champions, despite losing Cliff Lee? Joe Maddon of Tampa Bay. The 2012 season when the Rangers still made the playoffs despite a horrible final month? Bob Melvin of Oakland.
I will not disparage Gardenhire, Maddon or Melvin here. All three are tremendous managers and deserve those accolades. But it’s high time the Baseball Writers' Association of America gave it up for Washington. This year would be perfect timing.
One could argue this is Washington’s best managing job in Texas. He’s coaxed tremendous performances out of a starting rotation that has been anything but stable.
Nick Tepesch, Justin Grimm, Josh Lindblom, Travis Blackley and Ross Wolf. These are some of the guys that have started for the Rangers this year. They’ve all pitched well at times. Washington integrated them nicely into a rotation with Derek Holland and Yu Darvish.
The bullpen has been a dream and Washington has handled that group, for the most part, with great care. They seem fresher at this point than in recent years.
Look at how Washington managed the bullpen the night Blackley started last week. He got four innings out of the reliever and then handled the final five innings perfectly to keep the Rangers in the game before they overtook the Astros.
There have been times in which Washington has overworked his bullpen or put them in less-than-desirable situations. That is happening less and less this season.
Plus, praise Washington’s patience with a lineup that struggled for the first four months and his ability to adjust in the wake of Nelson Cruz’s suspension.
The Rangers now resemble the Major League teams I grew up with — teams that create offense with base hits, stolen bases, hits that move runners two bases or more and with enough power (Adrian Beltre, A.J. Pierzynski and Mitch Moreland) to make pitchers pay.
The Rangers gave him the pieces. Washington is pulling the right strings.
Disagree? Well, that’s up to you. But as someone who has been watching and writing about them all season, I think this is Washington’s best managing job yet. And if he doesn’t get the Manager of the Year award, there’s something wrong with these guys.