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Rangers make pitching coach change after continued

The Rangers have announced that co-pitching coaches Doug Mathis and Brendan Sagara will not return in those roles next season. Mathis will not return to the organization in any capacity, while Sagara has been offered a different position within the organization. Moreover, first base coach Josh Johnson will move to an on-the-field minor league player development position that has yet to be determined. The remaining members of the coaching staff have been offered a chance to return with roles to be determined once the Rangers have completed their managerial search.

Mathis began his career in a playing role, starting with the Rangers Single-A minor league affiliate in 2006. He made his major league debut in 2008 and was shuttled on and off the field between 2008-2010, eventually spending time in the KBO, NPB, and CPBL before transitioning to coaching in 2017.

Contrastly, Sagara’s career has been largely coaching-based. Since college baseball at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Sagara has been a coach in the Mets, Braves, Marlins, Cubs, and Rangers systems before being promoted to co-pitching coach for the Rangers in late 2020.

Johnson has been with the Rangers organization since 2019, beginning in Single-A and joining the major league team in mid-August 2022 after then-manager Chris Woodward was fired. Third base coach Tony Beasley moved up to interim manager, while Corey Ragsdale was moved to third base. Johnson came up from the minors to coach first base.

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Mathis and Sagara were given the title of co-pitching coaches after the 2020 season, with then GM and President of Baseball Operations Jon Daniels explaining that the team viewed the duo as having “some individual strengths” and that he considers the role as having “a lot to do, and it’s a bigger job than just one person,” per Levi Weaver of The Athletic.

However, since the start of the 2021 season, the pitching staff hasn’t had much success. Rangers’ starters have the fifth-highest ERA (4.98), eighth-lowest strikeout percentage (19.5%), and sixth-highest walk percentage (8.4%). Relievers have had slightly more success, with the Rangers’ bullpen issuing a slightly below-average 3.92 ERA, low 22.4% strikeout rate, and higher-than-average 9.5% walk rate.

Those struggles continued this season, with Texas’ rotation posting a 4.63 ERA in 2022. Free agent signee Martin Perez had a great season and Jon Gray was solid when healthy, but the back of the rotation was a problem all year. Dane Dunning, Glenn Otto, Taylor Hearn and former top prospect Spencer Howard all struggled during their work in the rotation.

It isn’t clear whether the Rangers will again look to deploy a co-pitching coach arrangement or identify one hire to assume the job. Daniels is no longer in the organization, with Chris Young no leading baseball operations. Of course, Young also has to decide how to proceed at manager. Beasley figures to get some consideration for the permanent position, but Young and his group could also look outside the organization for a new skipper.

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