Ron Washington walked away on a Friday afternoon, hours before the second game of a 10-game homestand that had started off badly.
Whether his decision to resign was planned ahead of time, the fact that the announcement was made after the Rangers had been mathematically eliminated from post-season possibilities the night before at least implied that that’s the moment Wash was waiting for before opting to “devote [his] full attention to addressing an off-the-field personal matter.”
Bench coach Tim Bogar took over, and the six-game Texas losing streak turned to eight before the Rangers pulled out a 1–0 win over Seattle on Sunday afternoon, on the strength of Derek Holland’s strong six and a sixth-inning Adrian Beltre sac fly that scored Leonys Martin just about the time that the Cowboys and 49ers kicked their season off a few blocks to the west.
It was as unnoticed a 1–0 win the Rangers could have possibly had, especially in September, in a long time.
The Angels came to town the next day, and handily swept Texas in three, 9–3 and 8–1 and 7–3.
Texas, at 54–92, had a five-game cushion on Colorado and Arizona for the first pick in 2015 draft. (Houston would pick second no matter what, awarded that pick for having failed to sign Brady Aiken at 1.1 the summer before.)
But then Bogar’s club won 12 of 13 — with the victories going to Holland, Colby Lewis, Nick Martinez (twice), Shawn Tolleson, Neftali Feliz, Nick Tepesch, Robbie Ross Jr., Phil Klein, and Lisalverto Bonilla (three times — his only three wins as a Ranger).
In that same stretch, Colorado went 7–6 and Arizona went 4–9.
Texas lost two of its final three but the Rockies lost all three of theirs, as a result of which Colorado finished one game worse than the Rangers. (Had they had the same record, the Rockies would have been awarded the higher draft position.)
The Diamondbacks dropped two of three, earning the 1.1 slot. Houston would pick at 1.2, Colorado at 1.3, and Texas at 1.4.
Tim Bogar’s Rangers went 14–8, including that 12–1 stretch in the middle. On pace to lose 100 games the day Wash cleaned out his office, had they gone so much as 10–12 under Bogar, the Rangers would have chosen 1.1 in the June 2015 draft.
Instead, they were slotted at 1.4, in what most draft experts were calling a three-player draft at the top. Three shortstops, in fact — Vanderbilt’s Dansby Swanson, LSU’s Alex Bregman, and Lake Mary (Florida) High School’s Brendan Rodgers.
Between that season-finishing tear and the next summer’s draft, Bogar didn’t get the Rangers’ managerial job, of course. Jeff Banister was hired, and Bogar went back to the Angels (where he’d been managing in the minor leagues when Texas brought him in to be Wash’s bench coach) to serve as a special assistant to GM Jerry Dipoto, Bogar’s former Mets teammate. A year later, Dipoto became GM in Seattle, and he brought Bogar over to be Scott Servais’s bench coach.
The Mariners let Bogar go earlier this month.
The Rangers, after Swanson and Bregman and Rodgers went off the board, took righthander Dillon Tate in that June 2015 draft, trading him a year later in a deadline deal to the Yankees for Carlos Beltran.
Swanson was in the big leagues a year after he was drafted. So was Bregman. Rodgers reached Class AA at age 20, and as an .858-OPS hitter and legitimate shortstop, he’s going to be all over the Top Prospects lists this winter.
Tate revived his prospect status this summer, reaching AA in August, though he’ll be 24 in May.
As for Beltran, he may be called on to pinch-hit tonight or, if there’s a game tomorrow, maybe then.
If the Bogar Rangers had won just 10 of their final 22 in 2014, or fewer, maybe the club would have taken Swanson with the first pick the next June. Or maybe Rodgers. But maybe Bregman was at the top of their board. No telling.
It, theoretically, could have changed things for the club that moved on from Bogar shortly thereafter.
And maybe for the team that plays for a World Series victory tonight.