The top two front-office honchos for Texas Rangers have been working together in Arlington since 2005.
After Friday, general manager Jon Daniels and assistant GM Thad Levine could be around through 2018.
Daniels and Levine have signed contract extensions that will kick in after their current deals expire next year. The club did not announce the terms of the contracts, but a baseball source confirmed on Friday that they are three-year deals.
Continuity is a strength of a good organization, Daniels said, and the concept of keeping him and Levine together will trickle down throughout the organization after it lost assistant GM A.J. Preller and senior adviser Don Welke over the summer.
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In keeping with a Daniels trend, his contract will run concurrently in length to the manager. Daniels and Ron Washington were under contract through 2015, and Jeff Banister could stay through 2018 if his one-year option is picked up.
“When there’s a comfort between people where they complement each other, they push each other and they cover each other’s deficiencies and highlight each other’s strengths, there’s a lot of benefits to stability,” Daniels said.
“We’ve been fortunate ownership has allowed us to keep the core of our group together. Obviously, that core has changed a little bit, but it’s an opportunity for some other guys that have been here for a long time to take bigger roles.”
Levine has taken on more responsibility in the months since Preller became the San Diego Padres’ GM and left vacant his duty of overseeing the Rangers’ operation in Latin America. Levine has stepped in, ably assisted by farm director and former director of Latin American scouting Mike Daly.
Levine’s job is to guide the international staff through prickly situations and allow them to execute what they already know in scouting and what they learned from Preller.
“I’m walking into a department that is clicking on a lot of cylinders,” Levine said. “It’s just a matter for me of giving guidance to some people in the field who I think are truly ready to step up and take on leadership roles.”
The Rangers chose not to join the growing number of teams who have given the GM title to an assistant while the GM takes on a new title while retaining the same responsibilities. Such is the case with, among other franchises, the Los Angeles Dodgers and both Chicago clubs.
But Daniels said that Levine’s commitment is so steadfast to the Rangers that there is no need to try to, in essence, entice him to stay by giving him the GM title.
“The way it’s already set up here is it’s a very collaborative decision-making process,” Daniels said. “Titles for me don’t mean a whole lot. Thad wants to be here, and I think we all want him to be here for the right reasons and not just a contractual obligation.”
The extensions come as the Rangers attempt to rebound from a 95-loss season and two campaigns in which September struggles doomed their hopes at a division title. The overall body of work, in which the Rangers have finished lower then second place only three times in Daniels’ nine seasons, buoyed ownership as they mulled the extensions.
The extensions were first floated before injuries wrecked the 2014 season.
“If you ultimately view my performance as a reflection of what goes on out on the field, I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished overall,” Daniels said. “This past season is not what we’re about, and as I’ve said before, accountability for that starts with myself. There are things we need to be better at and will be.”