Jon Daniels was the general manager of the Texas Rangers for their only two World Series appearances more than a decade ago. His 17 years leading the club ended with a string of bad seasons.
Daniels was relieved of his duties as president of baseball operations Wednesday, when team owner Ray Davis informed him that his contract wouldn't be renewed at the end of this season. Davis said he had been contemplating the move for several months.
“Bottom line is we’re not good, and we haven’t been good for six years,” Davis said. “To be competitive going forward, I felt that we needed to make a change.”
The dismissal of Daniels came two days after manager Chris Woodward was fired in his fourth season. It also occurred less than nine months after the Rangers committed more than a half-billion dollars to free agent infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, and starting pitcher Jon Gray.
Daniels was the youngest GM ever in the majors when he got the job with the Rangers at age 28 in October 2005. He added the title of president of baseball operations in 2013, and held both roles until Chris Young was brought in as the team’s general manager in December 2020.
“Somewhere along the way, this baseball fan from Queens got an opportunity to help lead a Major League Baseball franchise in Texas,” Daniels said in a statement released Wednesday night. “It’s been an unbelievable experience.”
Young now assumes oversight of all aspects of the team's baseball operations department. The former big league pitcher was a senior vice president for Major League Baseball before joining the Texas front office.
“I think Chris will come in with a new vigor and new enthusiasm and be able to build an organization that we can be consistent for many years,” Davis said.
Young was expected to speak to reporters on Thursday, and then go with the team on its trip to Minnesota this weekend to talk with players.
The Rangers went to the World Series in 2010 and 2011, then won AL West titles again in 2015 and 2016. They have since slipped into a rebuilding phase and the longest streak of consecutive losing seasons since moving to Texas a half-century ago.
After splitting their first two games under interim manager Tony Beasley, they would have to win 29 of their last 46 games to avoid their sixth losing record in a row.
Texas lost 102 games last year, after going 22-38 during the shortened 2020 season.
Addressing Woodward’s firing on Monday, Daniels said he took a lot of responsibility for the team’s performance over the last six years, and acknowledged that the Rangers haven’t been good enough in that span.
Davis described Daniels as being surprised by the decision when they met Wednesday. The owner then spoke with Young to inform him of what was happening.
While Davis had already made up his mind on the bigger changes, he kept those plans to himself when Daniels and Young approached him Monday about the managerial change. The owner said he agreed on firing Woodward since Young was part of that decision.
“So I separated the two, and did Woody then and Jon now,” Davis said.
The 6-foot-10 Young is a Dallas native who played played baseball and basketball at Princeton. He pitched in 13 major league seasons with five teams. His big league debut was with the Rangers in 2004, and he won a World Series title with Kansas City in 2015.
Davis said he made the move now to give Young a head start on the offseason. The owner said the Rangers need a couple of front-end starters and a middle-of-the-lineup bat to go with last winter's additions of Seager ($325 million, 10 years), Semien ($175 million, seven years) and Gray ($56 million, four years).
“I don’t plan on spending as much money as we did last offseason,” Davis said. “But we plan on spending some money.”
In his statement Wednesday, Daniels said he and his family were “incredibly thankful” to many people. He thanked Rangers ownership, past and present, for his opportunity and the support given to do the job. He acknowledged everyone he worked with — players, coaches, scouts, trainers and staff members — since first joining the organization 20 years ago as a baseball operations assistant. He also had a message for fans while thanking them for their passion and support.
“There are some spectacularly talented and driven people in the organization, from CY (Young) throughout the operation,” Daniels said. “There are going to be amazing moments in the summers and falls again soon, and you will get the parade you deserve.”
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