Mac Engel

July 16, 2014

Rangers owners get the blame for this mess

Jon Daniels should get a pass this season, but he’s on the hook in 2015.

His titles say “President, Baseball Operations/General Manager,” which is what Jon Daniels wanted. Like any employee, just because he wanted it does not mean it was going to happen.

Somebody above JD had to make those titles possible. And that is where we must begin, at the offices of Mr. Ray Davis and Mr. Bob Simpson, primary owners of your Texas Rangers professional baseball mess.

Some of this Rangers cowflop is on the two who sign the checks.

Mr. Randy Galloway recently stepped away from the golf course to assault his favorite punching bag — JD — on what is fast becoming Daniels’ worst season as this team’s GM since he took over in October 2005. Bravely, Randy said JD belongs in the Jerry Jones category of stupid.

Personally, I gave JD and Ron Washington a pass because of the injuries, the fact they do have a positive record and every so often stinkers happen.

Next season is when JD will be on the hook for the full Jerry treatment. I hated the additions of Prince Fielder or Shin-Soo Choo because of their seven-year contracts, and nothing on the horizon suggests this team is ready to overtake Oakland any time soon.

The biggest mistake JD made was trying to extend the Rangers’ championship window with cash rather than young talent. The biggest reason the Rangers were so good was not because of spending big but developing their young players who were hungry.

Would some of these moves have happened with Nolan Ryan as JD’s fun-governor? Nolan did sign off on trying to land Fielder three years ago when he was a free agent, he OK’d the $100 million addition of Yu Darvish, and didn’t stop the team from burying Elvis Andrus in so much money that has acted like a drag on his swing.

While The Curse of Nolan Ryan is debatable, any of the moves JD has made since The Express went to Houston also required the approval of his bosses — Ray & Bob.

What do they have to say about this, the Great Season of Waste? Got me. They both declined interview requests.

It does appear this dynamic duo is just another example of an ownership that is easily swayed, impatient and stupidly ambitious like so many other “young” sports owners.

The same thing happened to Tom Hicks when he bought the team in ’98; he watched the team immediately make the playoffs, and then he couldn’t help himself and made a bunch of stupid decisions, up to and including the hiring of John Hart as this team’s GM in 2002 when he should have gone with Dave Dombrowski.

The first thing Simpson and Davis experienced when they bought the Rangers was the thrill of reaching the World Series, and now, under the suggestion of Daniels — himself a Hart protégé — are trying to spend their way “back into contention.”

Like Hicks, these two will eventually learn that spending does not equal shortcuts. Sometimes you have to stink in order to be good.

The primary difference between Hart and Daniels is that JD did help build a winner here, and that buys him some time.

The other part is that Daniels is a much smarter and savvier PR man than Hart. Unlike Hart, JD does not easily get his feelings hurt. He knows what sounds good, what people want to hear and the rhetorical importance of taking responsibility.

He knows the quickest way to defuse tough questions and harsh criticism is to insert the “I Messed Up” lollipop. It is hard to verbally assault a man if he is already doing it himself.

Like Hart, JD also knows the value in managing up, which is why he has those pretty titles behind his name.

This is not just some dumb seam-head Davis and Simpson are dealing with, but no matter how smitten they are with their GM/president of choice, if the results remain anything near where they are now — dead last in the AL West — it won’t matter.

This season is trash, and in the Davis/Simpson regime, this will be the first losing year.

Because this team has enjoyed so much success and done so much, JD, Wash, et al. have earned the right to have a stinker, but these allowances have a short shelf life.

The way the Rangers’ front office works and with the invisibility of the owners, this thing is all about JD. If they win, throw him a parade on Randol Mill.

But someone had to give him those titles, all of that power, which means some of this mess is on Bob & Ray, too.

Follow Mac Engel on The Big Mac Blog at

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