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Rangers to interview Dusty Wathan for managerial opening



Dusty Wathan during his time at Clearwater. Wathan has spent 13 years in the Phillies organization (Gamweb)

For teams not in the playoffs in October, changing up coaching staffs is a main priority. That’s no different for the Texas Rangers.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Bob Brookover, Philadelphia Phillies third base coach Dusty Wathan is expected to receive a formal interview for the Rangers open manager position. SportsDay‘s Evan Grant also added that the club has done due diligence on Wathan. The Rangers went 67-95 this past season, finishing last in the American League West. Texas fired former manager Jeff Banister on Sept. 21.

The 45-year-old Wathan, a former catcher who last played in 2007, has been managing in the Phillies organization since 2008, spending 10 years in the minor leagues. Starting at Single-A Williamsport in 2008, Wathan made his way up through the minor leagues. He last managed in the minors for Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2017. Wathan found nothing but success at every stop he made. All told, Wathan accumulated a managerial record of 732-646, with 374 of those wins coming at Double-A Reading.

Wathan has a number of accolades to his name. He was named the South Atlantic League Manager of the Year in 2009, the same year he led Single-A Lakewood to the SAL championship. Wathan was also a two-time Eastern League Manager of the Year for Reading, winning the award in 2015 and 2016. In 2016, he led Reading to a record of 89-52.

Wathan was looked at by the Phillies for their managerial opening at this time last year. Apparently the Phillies had “zeroed in” on Wathan becoming their new manager, according to USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale. Ultimately, Philadelphia decided to go with Gabe Kapler as their new skipper.

While it was likely a disappointing outcome for Wathan to finish second in the managerial race, he still spoke highly of the Phillies, saying “I want these kids to do well and I’m going to do everything I can to see them have success. I’m good with this. I respect the decision and hope it works out for the organization.” Wathan also said that he thinks “this organization is on the cusp of big things.” Wathan was under contract to manage in Lehigh Valley again in 2018, but Kapler decided to promote Wathan onto his staff as the third base coach during this past season.

To say Phillies players admire him is an understatement. In a video on NBC Sports Philadelphia, shortstop J.P. Crawford exclaimed that Dusty Wathan was “the best manager I’ve ever had.” In the same video, first basemen Rhys Hoskins explained how Wathan “gets what we’re going through as players, which I think adds to his style of managing.” Hoskins, Crawford and other players like catcher Jorge Alfaro and outfielder Nick Williams played for Wathan during his time at Reading and Lehigh Valley. There’s no doubt that a strong bond grew between many of the young Phillies and Wathan.

Wathan isn’t the only candidate the Rangers are looking at. Also interviewing for the Rangers manger position are Chicago Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde, Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rangers assistant general manager Jayce Tingler. Interim manager Don Wakamatsu, who filled in after Banister was let go, is expected to receive an interview as well.

Wathan is the second recent person with experience in Philadelphia to receive interest for a manager position. Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported David Bell is being looked at by the Cincinnati Reds for their opening. Bell played with the Phillies from 2003 to 2006.

Should Wathan take the job, the Phillies will not only be losing a highly thought of coach who has a more than a decade’s worth of experience with the team, but will also have an open position as third base coach, one they could either opt to fill internally or externally.

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