ARLINGTON -- The Rangers picked up manager Ron Washington's contract option for 2009 on Thursday. "It was an easy decision," general manager Jon Daniels, who signed a one-year extension through 2009 earlier this season, said. "We dug ourselves too deep a hole to play for anything meaningful [at this point], but I do feel confident with his leadership going forward. "Ron is a teacher and a veteran baseball man with a passion for the game. His attitude and work ethic have been big parts of our turnaround from earlier this season."
After the Rangers started the season 23-42, they have posted a 37-30 record entering Thursday's game against the White Sox. "I'm happy to be with the Texas Rangers a lot longer, and hope this lasts until I can no longer teach in baseball or coach in baseball," Washington said. "And I think that will be until I'm in a wheelchair. "I'm a baseball man, and I trust what I know about the game. The last thing I was worried about was losing my job. The only thing on my mind was turning this thing around and getting this thing going in the right direction and making [the players] understand that they are capable. That's the message I sent from Day 1, and that's the message I'll send until it ends." Washington signed a two-year contract in the offseason, becoming the 17th full-time manager in club history. He has another option for 2010. "I look at [Washington] as a partner," Daniels said. "Ron is a teacher at heart, he's the guy to lead us to where we want to go." Second baseman Ian Kinsler has benefited greatly from Washington's defensive teaching ability this season. Kinsler went on the disabled list on July 2 with 14 errors in 68 games. While he was on the disabled list, Kinsler worked with Washington on his defensive mechanics. Since returning from the DL, Kinsler has not committed an error. "That's his thing," Kinsler said. "If you're going to rank a manager and what they're good at, he's definitely 99 or 100 out of 100 in teaching defense and teaching the game. I think that's only to our benefit." All-Star shortstop Michael Young was also pleased with the Rangers' decision. "He's been great," Young said. "The first part of the season was rough, and I'm sure Wash didn't sign up to play like this. I have no idea how a manager is suppose to react to a season like this one. But through it all, he stayed positive and stood behind his players. I'm happy for him." Daniels and Washington are under contract through the 2009 season, which should provide stability in the organization. The organization has undergone unceasing change since general manager Doug Melvin was dismissed at the end of the 2001 season. The Rangers have averaged one change in a major leadership position every year since then, and numerous other moves among the scouting and player development staffs. "I think it's great to get stability in the organization," Kinsler said. "The only thing that can happen is positive in my eyes." While Daniels and Washington admitted they were disappointed with how the season began, the recent turnaround and influx of young players has the future looking much brighter than the present. Daniels made two blockbuster trades this season, sending Mark Teixeira to the Braves and Eric Gagne to the Red Sox, that returned several highly touted prospects. Catcher/first baseman Jarrod Saltalamacchia and left-hander Kason Gabbard are already on the big league roster, while the others are continuing their development in the Rangers' farm system -- which Daniels wants to become a strength of the organization. "I think we have a ways to go," Young said. "I have no idea what players we have in the Minor Leagues, but I would imagine extending Wash would be a step in the right direction."
Drew Davison is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.