via The Sports Xchange
The Texas Rangers exercised the 2019 option on the contract of manager Jeff Banister, the team announced Wednesday.
Banister, 53, has guided the Rangers to a 261-225 (.537) regular-season record and a pair of American League West Division titles in his three seasons at the helm.
In 2017, the Rangers remained in contention for the second AL wild-card spot until the final week of the season before finishing at 78-84.
“With Jeff as our manager, we have had a lot of success over the last three years,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said in a statement. “Despite a number of challenges with injuries and other circumstances in 2017, our team stayed in contention until the last week of the season. His leadership and work ethic played a significant role in that. I look forward to working with Jeff as we begin planning and preparing for 2018.”
Banister was originally signed to a three-year contract with a team option for 2018 when he was appointed as manager on Oct. 16, 2014. The Rangers reworked and extended Banister’s contract on Feb. 19, 2016, picking up the 2018 option and adding the 2019 option at that time.
The Rangers also announced coaching staff adjustments for 2018.
The club will not exercise its 2018 contract option on bullpen coach Brad Holman. First base coach Hector Ortiz was appointed bullpen coach while continuing to serve as the staff’s catching instructor.
Holman served as the major league bullpen coach the last two seasons after working as minor league pitching coach in the Texas organization from 2009-15. Ortiz spent the last three seasons as Texas’ first base coach.
Five members of Banister’s staff — third base coach Tony Beasley, pitching coach Doug Brocail, bench coach Steve Buechele, hitting coach Anthony Iapoce and assistant hitting coach Justin Mashore — are expected to return in their current roles for 2018.
Josh Bonifay, who was the Rangers’ major league field coordinator in 2017, will return to the organization in a role to be determined on either the major or minor league level.
Meanwhile, the Rangers officially released first baseman-designated hitter Prince Fielder, who announced his retirement in August 2016.
Fielder, 33, spent the entire 2017 season on the 60-day disabled list. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 19, 2016, and underwent surgery for a cervical fusion of the C4-C5 discs 10 days later. Fielder was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 1, 2016. He previously had a cervical fusion of the C5-C6 discs on May 27, 2014.
Fielder’s last major league appearance was on July 18, 2016. He finished his major league career with a .283 average, 319 home runs and 1,028 RBIs in 1,611 games with Milwaukee (2005-11), Detroit (2012-13) and Texas (2014-16)