Rangers pitching coach Julio Rangel and catching coordinator Hector Ortiz won’t be returning to their positions in 2021, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Rangel’s contract won’t be renewed, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram adds, and Ortiz has been offered another role in the organization but it isn’t yet known if he will accept.
During Rangel’s two seasons as pitching coach, Texas hurlers combined for a 5.09 ERA in 2019 (24th of 30 teams) and a 5.02 ERA in 2020 (23rd). While ERA isn’t the sole determining factor in a pitching staff’s effectiveness, and the Rangers hadn’t been getting consistent results from their arms for years prior to Rangel’s arrival, clearly the club felt a change was necessary.
The next pitching coach will likely be charged with developing some younger pitchers, as GM Jon Daniels is on record as saying the 2021 team will look to incorporate more “youth and energy on the field.” With this mindset and a lower payroll in mind, it appears as though the Rangers are viewing at least next season as something of a rebuilding year.
Prior to joining the Rangers, Rangel was a coach in the Indians organization from 2007-17 and then worked as the Giants’ minor league pitching coordinator. His first official big league job was technically with the Reds as their bullpen coach, though Rangel was hired by Cincinnati after the 2018 season but never actually suited up for the team, as the Rangers came calling with the pitching coach offer (Rangel had the blessing of Reds manager David Bell, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal detailed).
Ortiz’s final Major League games came in a Rangers uniform in 2002, and he has spent the last 15 seasons working in a variety of coaching and managerial roles at the major and minor league levels. 2020 was his first season as catching coordinator, after previously working on the big league staff as a first base coach and bullpen coach since 2015.