Jon Daniels was given a flashy new title Friday afternoon, but that doesn’t mean that Texas Rangers’ baseball operations will undergo any drastic changes overnight or in the months going forward.
The new president of baseball operations/general manager said that he has been tasked with keeping together the staff that has helped transform the Rangers from American League West bottom feeder to a three-time playoff team.
Daniels will continue to report to Nolan Ryan, who maintains his post atop the organizational pyramid. Rick George, who was promoted to president of business operations, will also report to Ryan.
That’s no different than the way things have worked for Daniels, who came along more than two years before Ryan was rejoined the organization in 2008, or for George, who was hired in 2010.
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Essentially all that’s new, said Daniels, is that he and George need to get new business cards. The promotions are ownership’s way of rewarding them for their roles in elevating the franchise to new heights.
“I’m not a big title guy, but I certainly appreciate the recognition,” said Daniels, who replaced John Hart in October 2005. “On a day-to-day basis, there won’t be any dramatic differences in the role. More than anything, this is recognition of our groups with Nolan’s leadership.”
Ryan’s title has changed from team president and CEO to simply CEO. The promotions were announced at the conclusion of the annual owners meetings in Scottsdale, and co-chairmen of the board Ray Davis and Bob Simpson made sure that Ryan got his due in a joint statement.
“Under Nolan Ryan’s leadership over the last five years, the Rangers organization has made enormous strides both on and off the field,” the statement, part of the news release, said.
“On the baseball side, Nolan has helped Jon Daniels develop into one of the game’s top executives. Off the field, Rick George has worked with Nolan to find new ways to drive growth and to make sure our fan experience is among the best in baseball.
“These promotions not only reflect the day-to-day responsibility Nolan has assigned to Jon and Rick, but also the terrific job they have done. We are fortunate to have such an experienced and talented leadership team, led by Nolan, that puts our fans first and is committed to winning.”
Said Ryan, in the same release: “I am proud of what we have accomplished as an organization over the last several years. That has been due in large part to the efforts of a lot of talented and dedicated individuals who work in all areas of the ballclub. I want to congratulate Jon and Rick on their promotions as the organization moves forward with a tremendous group of employees to achieve an even greater level of excellence in 2013 and in the years to come.”
No one can argue with the Rangers’ results the past three years under the current power regime.
They won the American League championship in 2010 and 2011, and set attendance records in 2011 and 2012. They went to the playoffs for the third straight season in 2012, but missed a third consecutive AL West crown by one game after a late-season collapse.
Daniels said that the resulting promotions were first discussed during the off-season, and some thought was given to promoting one of Daniels’ assistants to GM. The key sentiment, though, was that Daniels needed to ensure that the operations staff remains in place.
If there are any changes coming, it would be extending contracts instead of turning over the front office.
“One of the things that was expressed by ownership was a desire to keep the decision-making group together,” Daniels said. “I think we’ve done a good of creating an environment where they don’t want to leave, and I think it begins with Nolan.”