When discussing some of the most productive MLB managers of the last decade, the name Ron Washington should figure prominently in that conversation.
Washington’s resume is elite. He spent 10 years in the majors as a player and eight as a manager. He’s a proven winner (664-611 record).
He led the Texas Rangers to four-straight 90-win seasons and back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011, suffering some crushing losses.
He overcame those defeats in the same way that he was able to recover from substance abuse — with dignity in tact.
When he violated the league’s substance abuse program in 2009, he offered his resignation to the Rangers, but they wouldn’t accept it.
He was too valuable to the team’s culture and success. Sometimes life comes at us 100 miles per hour.
We stumble, but the true champions are the people who overcome these adversities, refuse to let one setback define their entire lives and come out better people on the other end.
That’s Washington in a nutshell. He continued to coach at different spots and refine his craft. Refine himself. It
Fast forward to almost a decade later and Washington is still making an impact as a third base coach for the Atlanta Braves, who have arrived in the World Series ahead of schedule and without their best player Ronald Acuna.
Atlanta will be kicking off the World Series against the Houston Astros. Washington will be stalking the third base box offering sagacious advice to any runner fortunate enough to make it within 90 feet from scoring.
He’s also known as an inflielder guru, working a fungo stick like Alicia Keys on piano. Washington is respected throughout the league and is an OG with a wealth of baseball knowledge.
Washington Deserves Another Shot
He wants to be a manager in the big leagues again, but his phone isn’t ringing.
“It’s hard to explain,” the 67-year-old said in an interview. “Whenever you become the leader of a group, and I’m talking about a manager in the major leagues, that never leaves your system. Well, once you get that opportunity, it’s always running inside of you.”
“No, my phone’s not ringing. I don’t know why. I really don’t know why. I haven’t done anything in my background that should warrant that,” Washington explains before a coaches’ meeting.
Back in 2019, Washington was the supposed front runner for the Padres job, but the franchise decided to go with inexperienced Jayce Tingler instead.
— theScore (@theScore) October 17, 2019
The Padres came into the season with a star-studded lineup and championship hopes, but fell miserably short.
“People get an opportunity to come back from mistakes,” Washington said back in January of 2020. “I never ran from my mistakes. I faced people with my mistakes. I’m a better person than I was back there. And a lot of times we learn from adversity.”
Washington said this back in January of 2020.
Padres Looking For A Winner
The 68-year-old Washington’s phone is unfathomably still not ringing, but his name has again surfaced as a potential candidate for the vacant Padres job.
Maybe they get it right this time.
We’re hearing names like Brad Ausmus and John Farrell in addition to Washington.
According to reports, Padres’ brass has done some background work on veteran managers Bruce Bochy and Buck Showalter, reports Buster Olney of ESPN (Twitter link).
Bob Nightengale of USA Today confirms Brad Ausmus, John Gibbons and Jeff Banister could be under consideration.
Problem is, not one of these guys, with the exception of three-time WS Champ Bochy, have the resume that Washington has. They haven’t even led a team to the World Series.
Buck Showalter has been doing television. Bochy’s probably itching to get back into coaching, but is he hungry? Washington has remained in the trenches as a contributor.
Oldie But Goodie
Washington’s age shouldn’t be an impediment to being hired. Tony Larussa, 76 and Dusty Baker, 72, guided both of their teams to AL Division crowns. Dusty is currently in the World Series.
Washington would be a perfect choice to navigate a young, talented team and give them some baseball direction, an identity and cement the winning culture. He would help the Tatis become the all-around force he could be.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 14, 2021
He wouldn’t move him to the outfield, but he’d work on his hands and his feet everyday until his performance at the shortstop position equaled his talent.
RW would allow Machado to be himself, but would challenge him to step up another level as a leader and really own the team.
Washington would be the screwdriver, tightening up some loose nuts and bolt on a highly-functioning and well-designed baseball team.
More than a few reputable baseball minds feel that way.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 11, 2019
Word on the streets is, Washington is up to the task and feels that he’s the missing piece.
“I think I can get that team over the hump,” Washington said. “That’s my thinking. I need that general manager to think like that. I’m definitely able to get them where they want to go.”
For now, he will help guide a surprise Atlanta Braves team to four more wins and a reinvigrated baseball spirit in the ATL.