Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette asks why baseball even bothered having winter meetings:
One wonders what the purpose of these winter meetings really is at this point. As Neal Huntington and other executives acknowledged, the timing of the non-tender deadline Saturday works very much against teams making moves. Who wants to trade for somebody who might be a free agent in a couple days?
Moreover, the number of teams genuinely motivated to make some big media splash at this event is exactly equal to the number of teams with a $200 million-plus payroll. So, the Yankees ended up with someone else’s great player when that someone else no longer could pay him. This is news? And, really, how much publicity does baseball get in mid-December no matter what happens in a hotel somewhere?
I’m gonna be honest here for just a second, because we’re all friends and it’s Friday: Kovacevic raises an interesting point, but the winter meetings were absolutely crucial this year because Craig’s family was getting pretty sick of him being home all the time after one whole week as a full-time blogger.
Covering everything from Indianapolis, doing impromptu photo shoots with Manny Acta, and even breaking the news of Rich Harden signing were all secondary to simply getting him out of the house. His wife has actually requested that MLB hold another winter meetings next month, perhaps in Dubuque.
The Texas Rangers just announced that they have fired Jeff Banister as the team’s manager. Bench coach Don Wakamatsu has been named interim manager for the remainder of 2018 season.
Banister was in the last year of his contract with the club, but there was an option for 2019. Rangers brass, obviously, has decided to go in a different direction following what will be the club’s worst finish in Banister’s tenure. At the moment the Rangers are 64-88 and are assured of last place in the AL West.
Banister was hired before the 2015 season and led the Rangers to first place finishes in each of his first two seasons, willing the Manager of the Year Award in 2015. The club fell to a disappointing third place and a 78-84 record last season, however and, after an offseason that neither helped the Rangers rebuild OR reload, this season the descent has continued.
Injuries and under achievement has been the order of the day for the past two years and, with the career of Adrian Beltre nearing its end and the Rangers having been passed up by the Astros as the class of the division, a full rebuild is in the club’s future. Even if that was not the case, however, recently there have been some reports about Banister having trouble communicating with his players, suggesting that, perhaps, the Rangers would move on from him even if the results on the field had been better.
Banister ends his reign as the Rangers’ skipper with a record of 325-313.