Jeff Banister is currently on a mission in his first couple of months as the manager of the Texas Rangers.
The first-time manager is still trying to meet all of his new players face-to-face after introducing himself via text message to many of them. Banister has already met Yu Darvish in Arlington upon his return from Japan, and he currently has a trip scheduled after the Winter Meetings to the Dominican Republic to meet more Rangers.
Somewhere along the way, Banister hopes to have his first face-to-face, player-manager meeting with rehabbing slugger Prince Fielder.
"We've met before on the field in different uniforms," Banister told ESPN Dallas. "I would love to do that and I would love to continue the process of making the phone calls. It's not just about introducing myself, there are follow up phone calls to each player. I'd like to get together with the entire staff now that we have the whole staff in place and we can spend a few days together where we can map out things we want to do for the rest of the offseason and plan going into spring training."
Fielder, of course, was the biggest Rangers addition last offseason in the blockbuster trade for Ian Kinsler. The slugging first baseman then proceeded to play in just more than 40 games before missing the rest of the year after undergoing neck surgery.
Fielder's last healthy season — 2013 — is well-documented as his worst season as a full-time player in the big leagues, when he failed to reach 30 homers and drove in just 106 RBIs with the Tigers — just 106.
Banister, who saw Fielder as a Pirates coach with both the Tigers and previously with the Brewers, said he isn't worried about the career-worst season in 2013 and is looking forward to seeing a healthy Fielder in 2015.
"I'm not going to get into whether it's misleading or not," Banister said of Fielder's numbers. "I didn't watch him play last year, I saw some video and I know the man was injured. I know what I've seen him do in the past. Go back and look at the numbers against the Pittsburgh Pirates in what Prince Fielder did. My view of him is pretty good."