Souhan: Here's a thought, Gardenhire for Ron Washington

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 20, 2013 - 11:29 AM

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington watches from the dugout during the baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Sunday, July 21, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

The manager is under fire. It may be time for him to move on, but there is a way to make it work for everyone.

The manager played in the Twins’ organization in the 1980s, hoping to build a career as a utility infielder, but found himself pushed inevitably toward coaching. He gained a reputation as an expert on infield play, helping transform key players on winning teams, and eventually landed his own managing job.

He finished near the top of the American League in the Manager of the Year voting frequently, and became known for his humor and Southern colloquialisms. The man can tell a story, but his current story has grown stale. His team isn’t what it once was, and whether the slippage is his fault or not, change for change’s sake might be productive.

He should trade places with Ron Gardenhire.

If ever two teams should consider swapping managers, it’s the Texas Rangers and the Twins. Ron Washington and Gardenhire are good managers who could use a fresh start.

Gardenhire grew up in Oklahoma and was an All-America shortstop at the University of Texas. He hasn’t had a decent team to manage since 2010, when he was named American League Manager of the Year.

Although he professes loyalty to the Twins and General Manager Terry Ryan, he’s got to be sick of sending the likes of Liam Hendriks to the mound. Moving to Texas would give him the kind of jump-start that seems to have reinvigorated Terry Francona in Cleveland and helped make the Indians surprise contenders this season.

He’d manage a much better team in his home region, and no one could say that his players needed to hear a new voice. He would be the new voice.

I first met Washington in the visiting dugout in Oakland. Kirby Puckett called him over, and the two sat and told stories for an hour. Washington just missed playing on the 1987 Twins World Series champion, when Al Newman won the utility infielder job in spring training.

Maybe Washington has lost his influence in the Rangers clubhouse, or maybe the Rangers just aren’t as good at the Oakland A’s. Either way, he might welcome a chance to work in a place where winning 90 games isn’t expected, where developing great young players such as Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano could define the next portion of his career.

Washington and Gardenhire are friends. They’re among the most personable managers in the game. They’re both baseball lifers who will wind up landing managerial jobs in the future if they are indeed fired next month.

Instead of these franchises considering firing managers they value, why not just trade them?

The Rangers would get a guy who looks and sounds like an actual Texas Ranger, allowing them to save money on mascots, and the Twins would get a new guy to yell a whole different brand of cuss words at Trevor Plouffe. Washington might be the most creative cusser in major league baseball. He can use a certain word as a noun, adjective, exclamation and gerund all in the same sentence.

If Gardenhire and Washington didn’t work out in their new jobs, each team could fire someone in whom it had little emotional investment.

Terry Ryan should make this deal. It wouldn’t be as splashy as A.J. Pierzynski for Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano, but it would be a lot better than J.J. Hardy for Jim Hoey.


Jim Souhan can be heard weekdays at noon and Sundays from 10 to noon on 1500 ESPN. His Twitter name is @SouhanStrib.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)


Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to manage Twins?

Weekly Question