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Are Rangers fans misunderstanding Jon Daniels?

Are Rangers fans misunderstanding Jon Daniels?

Last year I wrote an article for Dallas Sports Fanatic where I discussed the debate that Texas Rangers’ fans had when it came down to General Manager and President Jon Daniels versus Nolan Ryan. This is not a rehash. It’s actually a more in depth look at the success and failures that he’s had with the Rangers in the past few seasons and whether or not he deserves the criticism that he gets from fans.

The major problem is the successful run in the 2010’s ended with some fans being spoiled and expecting that run of winning seasons to continue, but you have to look deeper. The MLB draft is not the same as the NFL and NBA where drafted rookies immediately play. In baseball you draft and mold the players in the farm system. The two World Series trips and following playoff  appearances would not have happened if not for trading away some of our prospects.

I took a look deeper and realized that Jon Daniels may have been given more credit than he deserved as the architect behind the winning seasons. He had two assistant general managers that have gone off to success with other teams. Was it just him?

A.J. Preller 

In 2004 the Texas Rangers hired Preller as Director of International and Professional Scouting. He was later promoted to assistant G.M. before being hired away by the San Diego Padres in 2014. The Padres currently have the number one farm system in baseball.

Thad Levine  

Levine was hired in 2005 as another assistant G.M. to Jon Daniels. In November of 2016 he was hired by the Minnesota Twins. They have since made a Wild Card game appearance and won the AL Central and over 100 games in 2019.

So that begs the question: How much involvement did they have with the Texas Rangers and Jon Daniels’ decisions? We may never know.

Wrapping Up

Fans don’t like hearing the word “rebuild” but that’s what they have been in for the past couple of seasons. Fans are quick to blame Daniels without realizing the financial constraints placed by the owners which is why the couldn’t sign “flashy” players like Anthony Rendon this offseason. In 2019 he built a starting rotation around Mike Minor with a bunch of reclamation pitchers with Lance Lynn being the big hit.

This brings me back to prospects. They are called that for a reason. You never know how they will pan out. Trades were made that depleted the Rangers’ farm system during the good run. However, Jon Daniels has since made trades with veteran players that has Texas currently ranked with one of the top minor league systems in baseball.

This season may actually surprise fans. He’s built the bullpen. He’s added,

through trades and signings, Kyle Gibson, Jordan Lyles and the biggest get in Cory Kluber. That starting five is one of the best in the AL West.

Texas has also signed Todd Frazier to play third base and are giving former New York Yankees slugger Greg Bird a chance to compete with Ronald Guzman at first.

There is still time to make moves. Rangers’s fans need to be patient. Another move could be made soon or by the trade deadline. Just realize that 2020 is going to be better than 2019.

And let’s see what else Jon Daniels can do.

Until next time, I’ll see you in the cheap seats!



James Holland is a credentialed staff writer for Dallas Sports Fanatic. He's a lifelong fan of baseball and his hometown Texas Rangers. He's a member of SABR and Fangraphs because he craves ALL the data. He's also a karaoke addict who hosts shows at his favorite bar in Arlington.

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