Rangers sign manager Chris Woodward to contract extension, retain organization’s ‘heart and soul’ – The Dallas Morning News

By Evan Grant

2:12 PM on Nov 19, 2021 CST — Updated 9 minutes ago

The Rangers extended manager Chris Woodward’s contract by a year on Friday, securing him through 2023. On the surface, it’s a somewhat modest financial commitment to a first-time manager yet to have a winning record.

Here’s the thing though, President of Baseball Operations Jon Daniels stressed: It’s not about the terms, it’s about the message. The message to those players who remain and those whom the Rangers are currently courting aggressively in free agency, Daniels made clear: “He’s the heart and soul of the organization.”

Having weathered a 100-loss season full of trying circumstances as upper-level management tried to get answers, Daniels believes the Rangers are on the verge of turning the corner after five consecutive losing seasons. Woodward has overseen the last three. His tenure began with an 11-win improvement over his predecessor Jeff Banister in his first year, but the pandemic and a full-scale teardown have hampered the last two seasons.

His new deal also includes a club option for 2024. If things go as the club hopes, he will have a longer-term extension by then.

“I just feel really strongly about him and how he goes about his business, about who he is as a person and his family,” Daniels said. “I couldn’t see working with anyone else. I still feel that wa about them and, quite frankly, as we’ve gone about the recruiting process, talking with other players, it is so genuine to see how much these guys respond to him. They have genuine interest in playing for him and working with him.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Daniels added. “But this is very clear that this is the leadership team we believe is going to pull together and do it together. As we turn the corner, getting good decision after good decision and building momentum that leads to wins and on-field success, I look forward to being in a position to advocate for longer and bigger extensions at that point.”

In the meantime, as the Rangers trio of Daniels, GM Chris Young and Woodward meet with prospective free agents such as Irving’s Trevor Story and a stable full of impact bats represented by Scott Boras, the extension serves as a message there will be stability in the dugout.

It is also worth noting that a number of free agents on the market have previous relationships with the 45-year-old Woodward. He was together with infielder-outfielder Chris Taylor as a coach in both Seattle and Los Angeles and with pitcher Clayton Kershaw and outfielder Joc Pederson with the Dodgers.

“His ability to connect with people on a deeper level and then lean on the equity he’s built with them to challenge somebody or deliver a tougher message in a challenging moment [stands out],” Daniels said. “He has a real willingness to invest in people. And you see that in how players and staff interact with him. It’s been really impressive.”

“I lead with my heart,” Woodward said. “And we have a lot of staff members who do that. I’m not alone in that. Every guy we bring on board, you are going to see that same passion. I feel like I have a responsibility to keep moving in the right direction holding our standards as high as possible and set the expectations as high as possible.

“The city deserves [better],” Woodward added. “The fans deserve it. We haven’t won the last few years and I take full blame for that. We need to do better, but we’re moving in the right direction. And I can’t wait for what’s going to happen next.”

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