The Texas Rangers have finally decided on who will lead the club next season, hiring Pittsburgh Pirates' bench coach Jeff Banister to serve as the club's new manager, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Banister has served as the Pirates' bench coach for the past four years, and has spent the entirety of his 29-year baseball career with Pittsburgh's organization.
Sources: #Rangers to hire #Pirates’ Banister as manager.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 16, 2014
Banister was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 25th round of the 1986 draft following what was a rather inspirational amateur career. In high school, Banister fought through bone cancer and later suffered a brutal home plate collision in junior college that left him temporarily paralyzed. He ultimately reached the majors for one at-bat in 1991, hitting a single off of pitcher Dan Petry. Following his playing career, Banister took up coaching, working his way up through the ranks until being named the club's full-time bench coach after manager Clint Hurdle was hired in 2010.
The Rangers interviewed numerous other candidates for the position, but Jon Daniels and co. ultimately settled on Banister, Indians' bullpen coach Kevin Cash, and interim manager Tim Bogar as the three finalists. Bogar was long thought to be the favorite as an in-house candidate who led the Rangers to a 14-8 record following the sudden resignation of longtime Texas manager Ron Washington in early September.
Overall, the Rangers had an extremely rough year in 2014, as they were bogged down by a plethora of injuries to key players and went just 67-95, which was the third worst record in baseball. Texas should be expected to bounce back in 2015, as team health and further development from the club's youngsters should provide a big boost.