HOUSTON – The Houston Astros interviewed former Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister at some point Wednesday. Banister is among the more experienced candidates the Astros will talk to in this search. He is also one of the more familiar candidates for fans, through years of rivalry with A.J. Hinch’s Astros.
Here’s the file on Banister:
Experience: 4 years as Manager
Record: 325-313 (2015-Fired in-season in 2018)
Banister won back-to-back AL West titles in 2015 and 2016, leading the Rangers to the playoffs. In both seasons, Banister’s team lost in the ALDS to the Toronto Blue Jays, managed by another Astros candidate, John Gibbons.
He also won the 2015 American League Manager of the Year award in his first season. Banister turned around a 67-win team that led to Ron Washington’s firing, to an 88-win team and a team that was one win away from the League Championship Series.
Managing the Rangers has similar difficulties to managing the Astros, in that both play in strong hitter’s ballparks. Banister fits in the middle ground between the managers who may be removed from analytics (like a Dusty Bakers) and those who are young and inexperienced (Will Venable). Banister had both success (two strong years) and struggles (two weak years) as the Rangers manager. His profile is similar to long-time Blue Jays manager John Gibbons as someone who can step in and lead a veteran team right away.