Why did the Rangers fire Chris Woodward? Failure to follow through on offseason spending dooms Texas manager

Rangers entered 2022 with heightened expectations after signing high-profile free agents Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Jon Gray.

The Chris Woodward-led roster looked set to improve significantly on their record of 60-102 in 2021 and potentially compete at the top of the AL West. With an expanded playoff field, things were finally looking up for Texas after years of fighting.

That didn’t quite happen. Though the Rangers are far better than they were this time last year, they sit 51-63 9.5 games from a wildcard spot after walking away after a weekend in which they took two out of three games from the Mariners .

Texas needed a change. And Monday managed to fire Woodward in the middle of his fourth season at the helm and name third-base coach Tony Beasley as interim manager until the end of the season. The move was first reported by Evan Grant the Dallas Morning News.

Woodward is finishing his run in Texas with a 211-287 (.424) record and two finishers in his three full seasons.

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The Sporting News details the factors that led to Woodward’s departure, as well as possible next steps for the franchise.

Why did Rangers fire Chris Woodward?

Woodward’s sacking appears to be tied closely to Rangers’ failure to build on a stunning offseason. With the signings of Gray, Seager and Semien, Texas committed more than $500 million this past offseason. This type of spending puts pressure on a team to succeed. And while Rangers hadn’t had a successful season since 2016, the team appeared to be on the precipice of something exciting in 2022.

However, perception is not always reality. And the reality of the Woodward-led Rangers was that they just weren’t very good. Texas started the season on the wrong foot with a 7-14 record in April. They failed to recover, limping to a 51-63 record that puts them 23 games behind rival Astros in the AL West.

Semien has struggled and released in 509 record appearances a.693 OPS. Gray (who is currently on the injured list) was decent while Seager was good (131 OPS+). But the team just can’t compete with the likes of the Astros or Mariners. For comparison: Texas sits half a game ahead of the eternally disappointing Angels.

To be fair to Woodward, Rangers have had a spot of bad luck this year. Based on their Pythagorean formula, which creates a win-loss record based on how many runs a team scored and gave up in a season, Texas should be sitting at around .500.

The problem is that the Rangers have a dismal 6-24 record in one-run games. That’s not just bad, it is historical Poorly. According to ESPN’s Stats and Information research, they’re on track to have the second-worst win rate in one-run games since 1900.

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Much of the fighting in Texas comes from the hill; Aside from Martin Perez (140 OPS+) and Gray (102 OPS+), every member of Rangers’ starting rotation plays at a level below the league average. That has amounted to a team ERA of 4.09 (10th worst in MLB).

What’s next for Rangers?

With all Texas fights in 2022 (and before), there’s still a lot to like. Perez has been great, Seager has been consistent over the past few weeks, and the farm system is teeming with talent — namely former No. 2 overall Jack Leiter (No. 15 in baseball, according to the MLB pipeline) and Josh Jung (No. 27 prospects in baseball, per MLB pipeline).

At their best, Seager and Semien are elite players with real MVP potential. If you get them right and can add the likes of Leiter and Jung to the group, even if the Astros and Mariners are poised to compete at the top of the AL West for years to come, the prospects for years to come look much brighter.

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