The mark of a great organization is when their valued members are recognized by other franchises and given a chance at a greater role.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have made consecutive World Series appearances, won six straight division titles, and are one of the best-run organizations across baseball.
It’s always difficult to lose brilliant people who contribute to the success of a team, but there’s a lot of pride to be taken when they use the foundation of skills they’ve developed at one place to go on to bigger opportunities elsewhere.
The Texas Rangers recognize the impressive baseball mind of Chris Woodward, and they have chosen to put their faith in him to lead their team.
Friday evening, Woodward agreed to a three-year contract to manage the Rangers. That deal includes a team option that the Rangers can exercise for 2022.
Woodward has been with the Dodgers for the past three seasons, where he served as the team’s third base coach.
Before his tenure with the Dodgers, Woodward served as the infield coach for the Seattle Mariners in 2014 and 2015.
He’s only 42, and his success with the Dodgers these previous three seasons has earned him this fantastic opportunity with the Rangers.
It was only recently that Woodward officially retired as a player, having spent the 2012 season in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
He last played in the majors back in 2011, appearing in 11 games for the Blue Jays, which was actually the team he broke into the Majors in 1999 and spent seven of his 12 big league seasons with.
It’s quite often that marginal players end up making the best managers because they are better equipped to empathize with players who don’t feel the game as well as superstars.
The same concept applies to other sports as well. Stars can take for granted how easily aspects of the game come to them, so it’s harder for them to reach players that simply don’t have that type of natural ability.
For a player who had to grind out a career without the luxury of superstar-caliber talent, they can not only relate to a wider range of players in the league, but they’re often forced to rely more on cerebral traits to get by.
It’s not to say that superstars don’t feel the game well or can’t be great coaches, but most players simply can’t do what Hall of Fame guys take for granted, and it can hinder a Hall of Famer level guys’ ability to communicate the intricacies of the game to less talented players.
Woodward spent his career as a utility infielder who only played in over 100 games just once in his entire career, never eclipsing 350 at-bats in a season.
These are the types of guys who can not only better directly relate to the vast majority of professional players but are forced to overcome their lack of innate talent compared to transcendent stars with pure baseball sense and smarts.
It’s a great hire by a franchise that finished the 2018 season at 67-95 and has now had a losing record in consecutive seasons.
The Rangers fired Jeff Bannister in late September and Don Wakamatsu served as interim manager for the final 10 games of the season.
It’s unclear who the Dodgers are planning to replace Woodward with as their new third base coach, but it’s certainly a seal of approval toward an organization when a coach is entrusted with a managerial job from another squad.
This next Dodgers season is going to feature some changes, and now it’s official that there is going to be a different guy waving runners home as they round third.