(born August 24
) is the current general manager
(GM) of the U.S.
baseball club the Texas Rangers
. He is a 1999 graduate of Cornell University
, joining Boston's Theo Epstein
as one of the two youngest GMs in major league baseball.
His baseball career began in 2001
, when he landed an internship with the Colorado Rockies
. After the baseball season concluded that year, Daniels was informed of an opening in the Rangers organization. He applied and was hired by then GM John Hart
as assistant director of baseball operations. In July 2004, Grady Fuson left the organization and Daniels was promoted to assistant GM.
On October 4, 2005, Hart announced he was stepping down as GM and the Rangers replaced him with Daniels. At the age of 28 years and 41 days, Jon Daniels became the youngest GM in baseball history.
Moves as GM
Daniels' first major deal as general manager was trading Alfonso Soriano
to the Washington Nationals
for Brad Wilkerson
, Terrmel Sledge
, and Armando Galarraga
, a move that perplexed many Rangers fans in the DFW area at the time. The move had many pros and cons. Soriano hit 46 homers and went on to steal 41 bases the next season and Wilkerson played most of the season injured and ended with a .222 batting average. On the other hand, trading Soriano opened up a spot for rookie Ian Kinsler and freed up money that would have been spent on Soriano's salary to be more flexible in offering Kevin Millwood
a large contract. Still, Millwood's subsequent performance has been unspectacular, and Kinsler's position could have been opened up just as easily by moving Soriano to the outfield, where he went on to play anyway with tremendous success with the Chicago Cubs. The only plausible benefit from the Soriano deal has been a reduction of player payroll, which has accrued only to team owner Tom Hicks while furthering the dearth of championship baseball in Arlington. That the team received no players of lasting note in return for Soriano is indicative of poor personnel management and questionable faith with fans given that season tickets were marketed with Soriano on the roster.
Another move that still upsets many Rangers fans was a trade that Daniels made in December of 2005, sending pitcher Chris Young, oufielder Sledge and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the San Diego Padres for pitchers Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka, and catcher Billy Killian. While Otsuka filled a valuable role as the Rangers closer, the oft-injured Eaton only pitched 65 innings with an ERA of 5.12. Dallas-native Chris Young pitched 180 innings for the Padres, racking up 164 K's and posting an ERA of 3.46. Adrian Gonzalez (considered a prized prospect) batted .304 for the Padres while hitting 24 home runs. Many Rangers fans consider this deal even worse than the Soriano deal.
Some of Daniels' other moves have been better received. On the eve of the 2006
season, after losing #2 starter Eaton to injury, Daniels made a three-way deal, sending Juan Dominguez
to the Oakland Athletics
for John Rheinecker
and Freddie Bynum
, the latter of which he turned and traded to the Chicago Cubs
for John Koronka
. Koronka and Rheinecker helped shore up the Rangers rotation in April and May, while Dominguez stayed at Oakland's AAA affiliate for the entire year.
Another trade Daniels made was sending Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench, and Francisco Cordero to the Milwaukee Brewers for minor leaguer Nelson Cruz, and All-star left fielder Carlos Lee. The trade was completed just before the trade deadline of the 2006 season. Lee was the most sought after trade target during the season and was supposed to provide the Rangers with a strong bat in the middle of the lineup. Lee was only in a Ranger uniform for a couple of months before the season ended, and did not live up to the high expectations of Rangers fans. Lee then signed a $100 million free agent contract with the Houston Astros, giving the Rangers the #17 and #35 draft picks in 2007 as compensation. Cordero had a career resurgence with the Brewers, making the All-star team in 2007 before signing a four year contract averaging more than 10 million annually with the Cincinnati Reds.
In late December, 2006, Daniels collaborated with White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams, engineering a trade that caught many within baseball's inner circles off guard. The Rangers acquired young starter Brandon McCarthy in exchange for the even younger John Danks.
On July 31
Daniels' made two possibly career defining trades, one with the Atlanta Braves
, the other with Boston Red Sox
. Daniels first agreed with Atlanta Braves General Manager John Schuerholz
to trade coveted slugger Mark Teixeira
and relief pitcher Ron Mahay
for the up and coming prospect, Jarrod Saltalamacchia
. The Rangers were also able to obtain four minor leaguers in the trade. In the second trade of the day, which occurred just before the trade deadline, Daniels agreed to send closer Eric Gagné
to the Boston Red Sox for the young starting pitcher Kason Gabbard
, Triple-A prospectDavid Murphy
and rookie-level outfielder Engel Beltre.
Before the 2008 Season, Daniels traded the 2nd member of what was once dubbed the "DVD trio," sending Edison Volquez
to the Reds for Outfielder Josh Hamilton
. This trade has received mixed reviews among baseball fans as both Volquez and Hamilton were both voted in as starters in the 2008 MLB All-Star Game
. The Rangers lack dominant pitching and the Reds lack dominant offensive power, which either player could provide his former team according to this year's statistics. It is worth noting that the Rangers are more respectable than they have been of late (with the help of other additions such as Milton Bradley
) and the Reds have not improved as much as a team to this point (even with the addition of 2007 All-Star closer Francisco Cordero