161211_Tingler

Texas Rangers coach Jayce Tingler throws batting practice before a 2015 game against the Kansas City Royals. Tingler is a former Smithville all-state selection.

Sometimes in life you just have to take a chance and follow a different path when a previous opportunity is coming to a close.

That is exactly what Smithville native Jayce Tingler did, and the chance he took has led to his ascent through the Texas Rangers organization — all the way to a front-office position.

Tingler was named to one of the Rangers’ three assistant general manager positions Nov. 28. He will serve a more prominent role with the Rangers and General Manager Jon Daniels’ staff following the departure of Thad Levine to Minnesota, where he took over as the Twins’ new general manager.

The Rangers are coming off of an American League Western Division Championship in 2016.

Tingler spent the 2015 offseason as part of Daniels’ trusted inner circle and the previous weeks in the 2016 offseason in preparation for his new role.

“It feels great. It’s a tough deal we lost Thad Levine, who had been with us since 2005. That loss was somewhat emotional, and it hurt,” Tingler said. “After the emotion and stuff started to wear off, I was floored and honored that JD (Daniels) and his staff even considered me. I am excited to get into the front office and start my duties there. I am having fun learning right now.”

In 2007, Tingler’s professional baseball career was coming to a close, after topping out with the Rangers Double-A affiliate the Frisco RoughRiders. The career of the 2003 10th-round selection out Missouri by the Toronto Blue Jays was over after four minor league seasons and one in the Rangers organization after joining the organization via the Minor League Rule 5 draft.

For Tingler, he was fortunate to be selected by the Rangers. After spending just a year playing for the Rangers, he hung up his spikes to follow in the footsteps of his parents, both of whom are coaches.

The next career move for the two-time minor league all-star (Carolina and California League) was to take over managing responsibilities for the Rangers academy in the Dominican Republic. Tingler didn’t know how to speak Spanish going into his assignment, but he didn’t shy away from the challenge of coaching 16- and 17-year-olds in the Caribbean.

He learned how to communicate better with players and teach them the fundamentals of the game throughout his time in the island nation.

After impressing the Rangers’ front office brass with his work in the Dominican Republic, where he spent three years working almost non-stop, Tingler moved on and accepted his next challenge.

MLB rosters were over a quarter (28.5 percent) Latino on opening day of the 2016 season. The Spanish-speaking skills Tingler learned and put to use would continue to serve him well.

The next stop on his tour took him to Surprise, Arizona, where he managed the Rangers Rookie League team, the Arizona Rangers, where he spent one season after leading his team to a 31-24 record and a first-place finish.

In his three seasons as a manager, he compiled a 124-62 record with three first-place finishes.

He then became a roving minor league instructor, traveling to all of the Rangers’ minor league affiliates across five levels — Rookie, Low-A, High-A, Double-A and Triple-A — to help with the instruction of English- and Spanish-speaking players at all positions on the diamond.

After a year, Tingler was promoted to minor league field coordinator in 2012, and he oversaw all the position players in the Rangers organization from Triple-A down and organized spring training and instructional league.

During that time, he worked with current big-league stars Rougned Odor, Nomar Mazara and Jurickson Profar.

“Anytime you are able to have success producing players, it’s a reflection of the entire group who helps to develop them as well as the players’ ability and talent,” Tingler said. “When you get a young player like Odor who is able to impact the big league team, it’s huge for the organization. That is obviously the big goal, but you also have to develop complementary players.”

After the 2014 season, the Rangers hired a new manager, Jeff Banister, and with him came a new coaching staff and a newly created position that Tingler was familiar with.

He was named to Banister’s coaching staff in the same position Banister broke into big league coaching with in Pittsburgh — that of field coordinator, a position Tingler was all too familiar with in the minor leagues.

Over the past two seasons the Rangers compiled a 183-141 record with Tingler on the staff, including two playoff appearances and a division championship (2016).

Odor has also developed into one of MLB’s best players during that time frame (49 home runs and 149 RBIs) as a second baseman.

Now, he leaves the big league staff behind for a role to find players for the organization through drafts, free agency and trades. Tingler will also oversee the Rangers’ entire minor league system for Daniels.

He doesn’t plan on shying away from his new challenge of helping to bring the Rangers their first World Series Championship.

“Overseeing the farm system is something I have done on a smaller scale in the past. I feel like I have a very good relationship with the people involved in the minor league operations,” Tingler said. “I have been very fortunate and blessed to be around good players and coaches in the organizational staff. I have been very blessed.

“I just want to stay focused on the task and job at hand as the assistant GM helping JD and coach Banister and his staff,” he said.

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