Ron Washington goes off on bunting critics
Ron Washington is one of the few managers left in the league who appreciates the value of a good sacrifice bunt. The more time that passes, the more statisticians have come to believe that giving up a free out is rarely a good decision. The Texas Rangers manager went off on Sunday when asked what he would say to those analytical geeks.
“I think if they try to do that, they’re going to be telling me how to [expletive] manage,” Washington said, via Gil Lebreton of The Star-Telegram. “That’s the way I answer that [expletive] question. They can take the analytics on that and shove it up their [expletive].”
Eaaaaasy Ron — have a cigarette and relax. Washington has clearly heard enough of the anti-bunting arguments, and it was almost as if he was waiting for someone to ask a question about it so he could snap.
“Mike Scioscia dropped 56 sacrifice bunts on his club, the most in the league, and he’s a genius,” he barked. “But Ron Washington dropped 53 and he’s bunting too much? You can take that analytics and shove it.
“I do it when I feel it’s necessary, not when the analytics feel it’s necessary, not when you guys feel it’s necessary, and not when somebody else feels it’s necessary. It’s when Ron Washington feels it’s necessary. Bottom line.”
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus dropped down 13 sacrifice bunts last season, which was the most in the MLB among position players. The way Washington made it seem, he is not simply committed to bunting. He feels that his players are not effective enough with situational hitting, which makes it a safer play to bunt in certain situations.
“Our weakness the past couple of years going down the stretch has been situational hitting,” Washington said. “Having runners in scoring position with less than two out and not being able to get them home. Having runners at second base with nobody out and not being able to move them. Having runners with the infield in and not being able to get the ball to the outfield. Having the infield back and not being able to play pepper with the middle of the infield.
“The percentages for me in that situation go up by them squaring and bunting it rather than me allowing them to swing.”
Washington named Andrus, Jurickson Profar, Leonys Martin and Geovany Soto as players he can’t trust to move runners along without bunting. Other teams have players they could say the same about, but they still allow them to swing away more often than Washington. As the team’s manager, that is his prerogative. And don’t bleeping ask him about it again.