The Texas Rangers hired Dave Magadan as their hitting coach Friday.
Magadan, the hitting coach for the Boston Red Sox since 2006, had an option remaining on his contract, but was given permission to speak with other clubs.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said he only called Magadan and that if the 50-year-old hadn't taken the job, the club would have stayed with Scott Coolbaugh, who was offered another position in the organization.
"We feel like we've strengthened our big league club and our whole organization by bringing in one of the best," Daniels said. "We think Scott is an asset to the organization and talented and belongs here with the Rangers. We just felt like we had a chance to get one of the best in the business."
This past season the Rangers were first in the AL in runs (808), fourth in home runs (200), third in on-base percentage (.334) and second in slugging (.446). As a team, Texas batted .273, second by one point to the Los Angeles Angels.
But the club was not consistent in 2012. It hit well in April and May but hit a swoon in June and July. The Rangers were last in the AL in runs scored in July and then first in August.
And when the offense was needed most -- in the final weeks of the season -- it wasn't able to respond.
The Rangers had trouble getting runners home from third base with less than two outs on a consistent basis and didn't deliver with runners in scoring position with regularity. In the final 13 games, the Rangers went 4-9 and hit .251 as a team with an average of 3.8 runs per game. That doesn't include the AL wild-card game, when Texas scored one run and went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
Texas hit just .228 in the final 13 games of the regular season and watched a five-game lead with nine to play (and a four-game lead with six to play) disappear. The season ended for the 2010 and 2011 AL champs in the wild-card game.
"It's not what happened the last two weeks," Daniels said. "Obviously, when you make a change the headlines come out the next day and it's easy to say we're putting this on one person's feet. But that's not true. The fact that we didn't get it done was on everybody. We're not panicking. We're looking for ways to improve."
Magadan will be the fifth hitting coach in five seasons for Texas. Coolbaugh took over as hitting coach on June 8, 2011, when the club fired Thad Bosley after a few months on the job because of communication problems with the players. Coolbaugh was a hitting instructor in the Rangers' organization since 2007, including a two-year stint at Triple-A. So he was familiar with many of the players when he came to the big leagues.
Magadan said he wants to watch video, talk to his new hitters and get a better understanding of their swings leading up to the 2013 season. He said he's been impressed by the club's hitters and noted that some young hitters could be asked to step into bigger roles next season and that he's ready to help teach them.
"I'm big in working in framework of what makes a guy a good hitter," Magadan said. "I don't think everyone has to hit the same way. (You) look at each individual to see what they are doing when they are hitting well."
Magadan wants hitters that are aggressive in the strike zone.
"To be a hitter at the big league level, you have to have the attitude that you're swinging at every pitch until it's a ball," Magadan said. "That little bit of passiveness or delayed on being ready to hit, once you decide it's too late, you hit it foul late. That's something you look for in all hitters. Even your very patient hitters, their attitude is they are swinging at every pitch and your eyes will tell you whether to swing."
Magadan said it was difficult to leave the New England area, but he felt a comfort level with Daniels and manager Ron Washington, who was a coach for two years while Magadan was a player in Oakland.
"He made me a better defender, and anybody that can do that has to be somebody special," Magadan said.
Magadan cited the quality of the team on offense and defense and the organization's commitment to winning and, as he put it, "reload instead of rebuild" as reasons for making this decision.