Texas Rangers

Q&A with Rangers GM Jon Daniels, who wants to see rookies stare down contenders this month

Daniels explains why Minor, others weren’t traded at deadline

Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said that there was never a proposal that enticed him to trade Mike Minor, Hunter Pence or others ahead of the trade deadline.
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Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said that there was never a proposal that enticed him to trade Mike Minor, Hunter Pence or others ahead of the trade deadline.

For those have been paying attention, September is a big month for Ronald Guzman.

And Nomar Mazara.

And Rougned Odor.

And Brock Burke.

Just assume that the final month of the MLB season is important for most Texas Rangers, OK?

September, though, typically isn’t the best month to evaluate players. The rules are all different, with massive active rosters, and non-contending teams might not be playing their best players. Contenders might turn to raw prospects in blowouts.

But contenders have to win games in the final month, and the Rangers’ schedule is loaded with teams that are trying to make the postseason. The last cupcakes on the Rangers’ schedule is the Baltimore Orioles, and the Rangers visit Camden Yards on Thursday for a four-game series.

After that, the Rangers will be seeing contender after contender, and general manager Jon Daniels is looking forward to seeing how his team fares.

The Rangers closed out their three-game set at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday with a 4-1 loss as the first-place Yankees won the series.

Daniels made the trip and found himself cornered for this Q&A.

What are you most looking forward to seeing this month? Seeing our guys compete against really good clubs. The young guys, but also the veteran group. I think sometimes there’s a tendency to see the end of the season coming, and if you’re not in the thick of the hunt you kind of go through the motions. There’s a lot to be determined for next year, and there’s a lot some guys can show us.

How different is this September because of the difficult schedule? It’s still a little tough with the September roster rules. It’s still a different game, but there’s no doubt it’s an opportunity to compete against the best and for use to evaluate in that environment.

Is the media putting too much weight on what September means for some players? It’s always an opportunity to evaluate. People will say, ‘Don’t put too much stock in March and September evaluations.’ I don’t know if we’re going to make any decisions exclusively based on the next few weeks, but it factors in.

How encouraged have you been by the rookies on the roster? As a class, it’s been impressive. They’ve more than held their own. The physical talent is what it is, but just the poise overall. These guys don’t seem to be flustered by a whole lot, whether it’s making your debut and facing Mike Trout or posting up at Yankee Stadium. These guys have been in come challenging environments right out of the gate, and they haven’t blinked.

The Triple A and Double A teams were the only Rangers affiliates to not make the postseason. Are you guys realizing the talent at the lower levels? I hope so. We’ve got to do it for a number of years in a row. I think you’re seeing that wave of talent moving up through the system. If you’re winning at the minor-league level and it’s older players, it’s not a lot to get excited about. But we feel like these guys are talented and have a chance to play in the majors in a matter of years, so that part is exciting.

How much have the coaches and development staff aided the progress? They overall just did a really good job. Talent, obviously, plays a role, but these guys teach off the field, they train with different tools and techniques on the field, but they also create the environment for these guys to learn and compete and become professionals. They create routines. They’ve been really open-minded to some of the additions we’ve made to the program. All in all, it’s been a really good year for that group.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.