In a surprising move Friday, Texas Rangers' manager Ron Washington stepped down as skipper of the ball club. Washington cited a "personal matter" for his departure after 140 games had been played this season. Texas has had an awful year, posting just 53 wins after five straight 90-win seasons. The team missed much of its manpower this season, including three starting pitchers (Derek Holland, Martin Perez, Matt Harrison) due to injuries.
The first thing that came to mind when I heard the news was that Washington might be having a drug related issue - he admitted to cocaine use in 2009 - but club GM Jon Daniels vehemently denied that was the case.
Washington was hired as Rangers manager prior to the 2007 season after a successful run as an Oakland A's coach. The team finished 75-87, but two years later was 87-75. They won the American League pennant in 2010 and 2011, losing in the World Series to San Francisco and St. Louis. The Rangers were eliminated by Baltimore in the one game wild card playoff in 2012, and failed to make the post-season last year despite a 91-win campaign.
Washington's in-game strategy has always been a curious one, but he was popular with his players and leaves with a 664-611 (.521) lifetime record at the helm. Bench coach Tim Bogar will take over as interim manager for the remainder of the season.