Texas Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels held a conference call this evening for members of the Texas and Pittsburgh media, making the hiring of Jeff Banister official. Most of the conference call discussed the hiring process, and general things that led the Rangers to select Banister as their new manager. One key bit of information that came up for the Pirates involved whether the Rangers would take anyone from the Pittsburgh organization to fill out Banister’s staff in Texas.
Daniels said that this scenario was “probably unlikely”, citing his respect for the Pirates and not wanting to put them in a bad spot. Daniels said that he had been in the same spot before. In fact, that same spot took place a few years ago when the Pirates hired Clint Hurdle from the Rangers. Hurdle didn’t bring anyone over from the Rangers when making the move.
Since Hurdle came from Texas, and since Banister comes to Texas after working with Hurdle, there were a lot of questions wondering if the Rangers were looking for a clone of Hurdle. Daniels was quick to point out that Banister was “his own man”, and not the same as Hurdle. However, he noted that there were things Banister would probably bring over from the Pirates’ organization, with one key thing being the co-dependent relationship between scouting, development, and the big league club.
Daniels was also asked about the way the Pirates have been known to use advanced analytics, and noted that this is an area where the Rangers can probably get better.
“You realize there are some things you do really well in these interview processes, and then you realize there are areas where we need to get better,” Daniels said. “There might be a perception because of my background, some of the folks in the front office, etc, that we’re an analytics-heavy group. What was illustrated to me throughout this, is we’re probably below average in that department.”
He noted that the amount of time and energy the Rangers spent on analytics was probably behind other clubs, and that they weren’t going to try and copy anyone, but would find the best mix for them.
Daniels noted that Banister and Hurdle probably learned from each other in their time working together. It’s hard to say who had the idea to incorporate more analytics on the field, or who put the focus on linking the scouting and development with the big league club. Either way, it appears Banister will be using those strategies in Texas.