ARLINGTON, Texas -- While Buck Showalter wasn't the only
person to blame for the Texas Rangers missing the playoffs again,
the manager got fired for it.
"There's a shared responsibility there, some of which is
Buck's, some of which is mine, and a good deal to the players,"
general manager Jon Daniels said Wednesday. "This is an
organizational goal to win. When we don't do it, it falls on all of
The ax fell on Showalter after his fourth season, an 80-82 mark
that was the Rangers' sixth losing record in seven years since last
making the playoffs in 1999 despite a roster with several young
Daniels, the 29-year-old GM who was the youngest ever in the
major leagues when he was hired a year ago Wednesday, recommended
Showalter's firing and reached a mutual decision with owner Tom
Hicks before a planned dinner among the trio Tuesday night.
"This decision was not based exclusively on the '06 season and
our lack of accomplishing our goals," Daniels said. "It's more
about looking forward, and what gives us the chance to achieve
those goals ... I'm very confident that we made the right
Showalter was 319-329 with the Rangers, his third managerial
job, and is owed $5.1 million for the three seasons left on his
contract. Texas never finished above third place.
"You never heard me make an excuse all year, and I'm not going
to start now. We just didn't get it done," Showalter told The
Associated Press in a phone interview. "They want to go in a new
direction with a new voice. With the shelf life of managers, I feel
Daniels acknowledged that he would be looking for a different
kind of communicator, but downplayed what impact any players'
discontentment with Showalter and the manager's hands-on approach
had with the decision.
"That was nothing that was ever communicated to me," Daniels
said. "I didn't have any direct conversations with the players."
Showalter was the AL manager of the year only two years ago,
when AL MVP Alex Rodriguez was traded in the spring and the Rangers
went on to contend for a playoff spot until the final few games of
The Rangers were 89-73 in 2004, the fourth-best record in team
history and an 18-win improvement over 2003. They finished only
three games back in the AL West, but still in third place behind
the division-winning Angels and Oakland.
But the Rangers couldn't build off the momentum of that
unexpected playoff chase. They backtracked last year with 79
victories, and were only one game better than that this season.
Hicks didn't attend the news conference announcing the decision,
but said in a statement that he had "the utmost respect" for
"He is extraordinarily committed to the game of baseball, and
he has been an excellent representative of the Texas Rangers,"
Showalter is the fifth manager to lose his job since the end of
the regular season, joining Joe Girardi (Florida), Dusty Baker
(Chicago Cubs), Frank Robinson (Washington) and Felipe Alou (San Francisco).
Girardi, the potential NL manager of the year and a candidate to
replace Baker in Chicago, could also be pursued by the Rangers.
Current bench coach Don Wakamatsu and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo
could be candidates as well.
Daniels wouldn't discuss specific candidates or a timetable.
While several other teams are also looking for managers, Daniels
said he would be thorough and "not rush into a decision that's too
The 50-year-old Showalter, whose contract was extended after the
2005 season, has an overall record of 882-833, including four
seasons with the New York Yankees (1992-95) and three in Arizona
(1998-00). He said he hasn't decided if he wants to pursue another
The Yankees and Diamondbacks won the World Series the season
after Showalter's tenure ended. The Arizona championship in 2001
ended the Yankees' run of three titles in four years.
"They're on an upswing," Showalter said of the Rangers.
Texas this season spent more than two months atop the AL West
despite never being more than six games above .500, then were out
of first place for good a week after the All-Star break. The
Rangers had a losing record at home (39-42) for the first time
Showalter's replacement will inherit a roster that includes
three-time All-Star shortstop Michael Young, switch-hitting slugger
and Gold Glove first baseman Mark Teixeira, two-time All-Star third
baseman Hank Blalock, closer Akinori Otsuka and Kevin Millwood, the
No. 1 starting pitcher with four years left on his contract.
"I had choices to make and chose Arlington. I would do the same
thing over again," Showalter said. "These are good people. I had
a heck of a seat the last four years, watching Mike Young and these
guys play every day."
The Rangers also have nine potential free agents, including
Carlos Lee, the two-time All-Star outfielder acquired from
Milwaukee before the trade deadline in late July.
Other likely free agents include Gary Matthews Jr., the All-Star
center fielder and leadoff hitter who had a breakout season,
six-position starter Mark DeRosa, catcher Rod Barajas, and starting
pitchers Vicente Padilla and Adam Eaton.