After weeks of speculation, it appears that TCU Baseball manager Jim Schlossnagle will be remaining with the Horned Frogs for the foreseeable future.
Schlossnagle reportedly visited Mississippi State this weekend, taking in the soon-to-be renovated facilities at the famed Dudy Noble Field, while the Bulldogs were taking part in the Tallahassee Regional. It’s fair to wonder if MSU’s success over the weekend delayed the decision by either the Dawgs or Schloss, who was rumored to have been offered a salary somewhere near $2 million annually. The 47 year old head coach, who is the winningness manager in TCU history over the course of his 15 seasons in Fort Worth, makes around $1.5 million with the Frogs, but will undoubtedly be receiving a raise from AD Jeremiah Donati. There could also be the promise of further renovations of TCU’s Lupton Stadium, which has seen piecemeal improvements, but nothing near what basketball and football have done over the past several years.
TCU has been to the postseason in 13 of the 15 seasons that Schloss has led the program, making five College World Series appearances, including four straight. The Frogs made a run to the Big 12 Championship this season before falling in the final game to Baylor, causing them to miss the postseason for the first time since 2013. That miss preceded four straight appearances in Omaha.
With the MLB Draft beginning Monday evening, the timing of this decision is crucial. The Frogs lose just three seniors to graduation - AJ Balta, Michael Landestoy, and Connor Wanhanen - but several key players will have tough decisions to make after they hear their name called this week. Starting pitchers Jared Janczak and Sean Wymer are expected to be early-round picks, closer Durbin Feltman should be one of the first collegiate relievers to hear his name called, and slugger Luken Baker is almost a shoe-in to go pro after consecutive season-ending injuries. But the Frogs should get back freshmen middle infielders Coby Boulware and Adam Oviedo, standout defenders Conner Shepherd and Zach Humphreys, and Johnny Rizer, who flashed solid potential once returning from injury himself. Josh Watson, a draft eligible junior, could potentially go pro, but is a strong candidate to return to the Frogs and be the cornerstone of another playoff run.
The Frogs get back the majority of their pitching staff, including late-season stars Haylen Green and Jake Eissler, which becomes interesting when you consider the future of pitching coach Kirk Saarloos. Expected to be the heir-apparent to Schloss when he was all but gone, Saarloos has been given permission to interview at Rice and will likely be a hot commodity by manager-needy teams once again this offseason. With several players weighing draft options at both the collegiate and prep level, keeping this top-notch coaching staff in place is crucial.
For now, let’s be thankful that TCU is holding on to a man who has built the program into a success both on and off the field, recruited at a high level, and been a stalwart in the community - while expecting his players to do the same.
You can breathe, now, Frog fans.