Rangers GM has long off-season list to fix mess he created

Posted Thursday, Oct. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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galloway I’d love to see this scene Friday at the ballpark offices in Arlington:

Nolan Ryan — remember, he’s still the team CEO — walks in, fires Jon Daniels, and fires all the Daniels groupies. On the spot. All of them fired.

Then Nolan picks up the phone, calls Ray Davis, the majority owner from Dallas most supportive of Daniels, and says, “The next move is yours, Ray.”

Davis, of course, would then have no choice but to fire Nolan and restore his chosen boys to power.

But that’s the best way for Nolan to leave. Create a firestorm, and then walk out, fired and laughing.

Unfortunately, Ryan is not a “create a scene” guy. But I like the script anyway.

What began last November, but didn’t publicly surface until early March, was the rise of Daniels from general manager to overall baseball god of the Texas Rangers.

Jon Daniels won. Nolan Ryan lost. Daniels asked for that kind of power, and ownership agreed he should have it.

Even this week, after Daniels’ firing of bench coach Jackie Moore (make no mistake, that was Jon removing a “Nolan guy” he despised), voices associated with ownership were telling me, “no, no, what we attempted to do [in November] was bring both sides, Nolan’s people and Daniels’ people, together.”

Sorry, guys. But that’s not the way it worked out.

But as Daniels, now in heavy worry mode, tightens his grip on baseball operations, I do owe an apology for making a Jon Daniels/Jerry Jones comparison in Thursday’s newspaper.

That was unfair.

Unfair to Jerry.

When Mr. Jones attempts to “coach” the Dallas Cowboys from his luxury suite at the Big Yard, it’s only 16 games involved.

By comparison, Daniels is attempting to “manage” the Rangers for 162 games, or this season, 163.

What cannot be denied is Daniels constantly wants to give manager Ron Washington orders on who to play, where they should hit in the batting order, and in general, how to manage the team.

The failed situation this season with young Jurickson Profar is the most graphic example, and most embarrassing example, of a GM gone power crazy.

When Ryan had final say on baseball matters, he ran interference for Washington on numerous occasions, ordering Daniels to leave the manager alone. Those were World Series years, by the way.

Wash has now lost his interference. He can’t win against Daniels. The manager had to go it alone this season, and will again in his lame-duck 2014 season. I ask again, where is the contract extension for Washington after his best managerial season yet when you consider the roster mess Daniels gave him, combined with the injuries?

Owners who have plenty of money but no baseball clue, they don’t think far enough ahead to factor in the dynamics of making the kind of power shift of last November.

The irony is that Daniels is now up against it every bit as much as Washington is up against it. Maybe even more so than Wash.

It was a hoot this week to read the Daniels quote about being “proud” of 91 wins.

Jon, Jon, Jon. The 91 wins were courtesy of the Houston gift in the division given to the AL West by Bud Selig. That’s the only reason. Because of a 17-2 record against the Astros, the 91 wins are empty numbers.

The Oakland A’s also hammered on Houston, and speaking of dominating a divisional opponent, the Detroit Tigers did so against Cleveland.

The difference in the A’s and the Tigers comes down to one thing. Those teams won their divisions. The Rangers did not even make the postseason.

And, Jon, you are now selling “proud?”

For Daniels’ sake, I hope his adoring owners are buying “proud of 91 wins” because most fans are smarter than that.

But the eager wait (well, I was eagerly awaiting) for the off-season is now over. The Daniels watch has officially begun. The GM/baseball god is officially up against it.

A year ago, Daniels mangled the off-season. Even his most vocal backers admit that. He made no recovery in spring training. He limped through the first three months of the season, rebounded with the acquisitions of pitcher Matt Garza and outfielder Alex Rios, and it still wasn’t enough to offset the lost bat of Nellie Cruz.

But anybody can have a bad year. Daniels did.

The rebound this off-season will tell us more.

But the Rangers need power bats at first base, left field, DH and catcher, particularly if A.J. Pierznyski does not return, and that seems unlikely at the moment.

The Rangers probably need at least two rotation guys, depending on if Matt Harrison can rebound from three surgeries. And among the rotation returnees, only rookie Martin Perez had a “plus” season. Yu Darvish did not, shockingly. Neither did Derek Holland.

But free agency possibilities will be limited, and very expensive. Trades? Who the heck do the Rangers have to trade?

Ian Kinsler has had diminishing home run power for two seasons and has a new high-dollar contract kicking in. Profar had value this time a year ago. Now, because of a stupid rush to the big leagues, that value has diminished.

It’s your off-season, Jon. Go get ’em.

And by the way, on the firing of Jackie Moore, there is obvious confusion on the role of a bench coach. One story, a trashing of Moore in a Thursday newspaper, listed several pitching-move screw-ups (the writer’s opinion) by the Rangers this season.

For the record, on the Rangers all pitching decisions are the domain of the manager, the pitching coach and the bullpen coach. The bench coach is not involved.

Randy Galloway can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on Galloway & Co. on ESPN/103.3 FM.

Randy Galloway, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @sportsdfw

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