ARLINGTON, Texas – It’s been less than 24 hours since the Texas Rangers had their season ended and manager Ron Washington said it will take some time to figure out exactly what went right and wrong for his team.
But Washington, who talked to the media Tuesday, made it clear that going forward he’d like to keep some of the key parts to the 2013 season in place for 2014.
That includes future free agents Joe Nathan and Nelson Cruz.
Nathan, 38, saved 43 games for the Rangers and Cruz batted .269 with 27 home runs and 76 RBI despite serving a 50-game suspension for PED use.
“I thought Joe Nathan had a tremendous year,” Washington said. “I think at the end of the year Joe Nathan proved to everyone that doubted him what he was made of, and I certainly would love to continue giving him the ball because he gets outs.”
The decision to try and re-sign Nathan, who has made the All-Star in each of the last two seasons, could depend on whether or not the Rangers have another closer option in the bullpen. Set-up man Tanner Scheppers, former closer Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria figure to be back in 2014.
Cruz also fills a need for a Texas team that struggled offensively, especially when Cruz was out of the lineup.
Washington made it clear that he’d welcome Cruz back, but that it’s not his decision alone.
“When you think about a Nelson Cruz, who wouldn’t want a Nelson Cruz?” he said. “Big heart, great teammate, but there’s a lot of decisions to be made on our part and Nelson’s part. I do believe Jon Daniels will go down that road and see where it works or doesn’t work.”
Washington would also like to keep his entire coaching staff intact, but that decision hasn’t been made yet either. The Rangers have had five hitting coaches in the last five seasons, with Dave Magadan being the latest.
Of course what Washington wants is just part of the equation and he hasn’t had a chance to talk with general manager Jon Daniels about next season yet. He’ll be ready for it when the time comes.
“Certainly will sit down with Jon and everyone, and we’re going to go over our roster and try to do what we can do to put something together and make certain that we don’t sit in this situation again next year and can be playing in the playoffs,” he said.