Ron Washington appreciates a vote of confidence as much as anybody. While it’s nice to know the Texas Rangers want to keep him around as manager beyond 2010, his future is not weighing heavily on his mind at the moment.
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”I’m all about baseball,” Washington said Friday before the AL West-leading Rangers opened a key weekend series against the second-place Oakland Athletics.
The Rangers have told Washington that they want him back after this season – and he appreciates it.
Washington is in his fourth season, the last on his current contract. Texas went into Friday night’s series opener at Oakland leading the A’s by 8 1/2 games, by far the largest gap in any of baseball’s six divisions.
”It means a lot simply because this is where I want to be,” Washington said. ”Everybody wants security and I’m no different. But it’s not something I dwelled on. It’s something where the organization thinks together we can do something special – together. I know who I am. I know what I’m about.”
Team president Nolan Ryan, whose group with Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg is expected to be approved next week as the team’s new owners, indicated that Washington’s contract would be addressed after the season.
”We’ve told Wash that we want him back and we’ll address it at the appropriate time, and he’s very comfortable with that,” Ryan said. ”Obviously, we anticipate him being back next year. As far as working out the details and stuff, that will be done at the appropriate time. There aren’t things right now that are incomplete as far as people not knowing.”
The Rangers have improved their record each season under Washington, who is 304-290 overall in his first managerial job.
There was no contract extension last year despite 87 wins and a second-place finish in the AL West. But Ryan stuck by Washington last summer after the manager admitted to using cocaine once, a revelation that became public during spring training this year.
He has been undergoing weekly voluntary drug testing since then.
”I’m good. For every action there’s a consequence,” he said. ”I never get into that grudge match stuff. I was wrong, they were right. I have a reputation and all I want to do is protect it. I’ve worked too hard. … I did wrong and I had to deal with the (scrutiny). People in baseball who know me know that was an aberration. That’s not Ron Washington.”
Washington waited more than a decade to finally become a manager, always saying it would only take one ownership group, one general manager to decide he deserved a shot.
The Rangers gave it to him.
Washington had been an assistant coach in Oakland – credited for developing the organization’s top infielders — for 11 seasons when he was hired after the 2006 season to replace the fired Buck Showalter. Washington’s original contract was a two-year deal with club options for 2009 and 2010 that were both exercised. Six-time Gold Glove A’s third baseman Eric Chavez gave one of his Gold Gloves to Washington.
”As a manager, and I’ve learned to understand this, it’s the players who make you who you are,” Washington said. ”If I do well, my guys are playing well.”
Ryan said he and general manager Jon Daniels have discussed Washington and ”felt like we wanted him back” in 2011. They also would like to re-sign left-hander Cliff Lee, the ace acquired last month, and possibly do a long-term deal with slugger Josh Hamilton, the majors’ leading hitter who is eligible for salary arbitration again this winter.
”When the season’s over and any postseason play is over with, then that will be the focus on taking care of Ron and the coaches and people like that,” Ryan said. ”And then addressing player situations, whether it be Josh or trying to sign Cliff Lee or whomever it might be.”
Daniels’ contract goes through next season.
AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins in Dallas contributed to this story.