General manager Jon Daniels arranged for a conference call with Texas Rangers beat writers Monday afternoon to take all questions about his club after an 8-16 start to the season, worse than all but one other team in franchise history.
▪ Daniels said there are multiple reasons why the Rangers are at the bottom of American League, including a lack of focus. He said that the players prepare well, but they aren’t executing well and aren’t able to make adjustments quickly enough.
The first month was about being patient with players Daniels still believes in. But, though, there are still 138 games remaining ahead of the series opener Monday at Houston, some players need to get it in gear.
“If it was one thing that was easily identified and fixed we’d have addressed it already,” Daniels said. “I don’t think it’s on any one individual. I think it’s across the board starting with myself. We took the approach the first few weeks of patience, and I’m glad we did. Let things play out a little bit, give guys a chance to get their feet under them.
“It has not really picked up with an exception of a few individuals. I think in conversations with our group we’re going to take a little more critical look at things over this road trip and again we’re giving guys a chance to pull out of it.
“We need to start seeing some production. We need to see focus and preparation and a little more attention to detail and I expect we will. If not we’ll make some other changes but that’s always the last result. I’d rather err on the side of patience, and I do believe in these guys.”
▪ Daniels declined a chance to evaluate hitting coach Dave Magadan, but said that manager Jeff Banister has done a good job preparing the players and communicating with them. Daniels also had no interest in picking on individual players, though he said that Rougned Odor is one of the position players who needs to show more or be faced with a demotion to Triple A.
Daniels was critical of himself for failing to construct a more veteran bullpen. He chose to go with young pitchers with good stuff rather than pick up a veteran or two. Some wanted Jamey Wright to make the club as a veteran presence who would help mentor the inexperience relievers. Wright also had a good finish to spring training.
“He’s a young player that we ultimately believe is part of the solution, not the problem, but he is struggling so far,” Daniels said. “He has some things he’s actively working on offensively and defensively. I think the challenges that are talked of a sophomore season we are season right now. He’s going to get an opportunity to make that adjustment. We’re looking for him to show some improvement among several other players.”
▪ Josh Hamilton will spend another week, give or take a few days, in Arizona before joining Triple A Round Rock. The reports from extended spring training have been positive, with Hamilton showing his trademark bat speed and no signs of lingering pain from a Feb. 4 shoulder operation. Hamilton has also shown a desire to do more work that is on the daily schedule.
▪ Despite saying that he will be a more critical evaluator in the coming weeks, Daniels cautioned that the club isn’t panicking even though it is already 9 1/2 games behind the Astros in the American League West.
“I think patience was warranted, but we’re in month two,” Daniels said. “There’s no panic. That’s reality. I want to see guys turn the corner, see the results of the hard work pay off.”
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760