Let the “Michael Young for Rangers manager” stumping begin

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As soon as Ron Washington stepped down I thought “it’s only a matter of time until someone says Michael Young should be the next Rangers manager.” Out of respect for Wash, I assume, they gave it a week. Now Richard Justice begins the stumping:

Young knows that the game is not easy, and because he had an awareness of the people around him, he would know that every player isn’t going to care as much as he cared. He was a leader in a quiet way, a guy who led more by example, but would also say what needed to be said. He was universally respected by his managers and teammates alike . . .

. . . With Rangers’ home attendance down for a third straight year, with it off almost 700,000 from two years ago, the Rangers need to do more than simply hire a competent manager. They need someone to inspire confidence in fans. Young is the only potential replacement for Washington who could instantly win over the fan base.

While Young would no doubt be respected by players, it’s also the case that he and Jon Daniels clashed on multiple occasions when Young was with the Rangers, with the discord that led to Young’s position-change dramas often being defended by Young partisans as a function of Daniels undercutting Young and not being straight with him. I have no idea if that’s true. For what it’s worth, Justice says Young and Daniels patched things up “at a wedding last summer.”

But in this day and age a GM wants a manager who will be his guy, no questions asked. Not a guy who can appeal to his own constituency in the press or among fans in such a way that, if the GM and he clash, the GM is undermined. That dynamic ended up causing riffs with Nolan Ryan and Daniels. Justice compares Young to Ryan in several places in this column. You think Daniels wants any part of that again?

There is a lot of talk about “optics” and washing away all of the bad news the Rangers have had in the past couple of years. Winning baseball games washes that stuff way more thoroughly than a nice press conference and a few stories about how Michael Young has “come home.”

(thanks to Caheezy for the heads up)

Nationals sign George Kontos to minors deal

George Kontos
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The Nationals selected the contract of reliever George Kontos from the Atlantic League Long Island Ducks, per an official announcement on Saturday. The right-hander has been assigned to Triple-A Fresno, but could still make his season debut sometime before the first half of the season draws to a close.

Kontos, 33, hasn’t pitched in the majors since he took a handful of back-to-back-to-back gigs with the Pirates, Indians, and Yankees in 2018. He inked a minor league pact with the Cubs over the offseason, but failed to break camp with the team and was subsequently released in mid-April. He turned in seven strong innings for the Ducks since then, allowing one run and one walk and striking out six of 27 batters in six appearances.

Last year, the veteran reliever posted a combined 4.39 ERA, 2.4 BB/9, and 5.1 SO/9 over 26 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t pitched anywhere close to his career-best numbers in four years, he may still provide some valuable depth for the club, whose bullpen ranks 10th best in the league with a cumulative 4.59 ERA and 5.9 fWAR so far in 2019.