Mac Engel

Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels: ‘It’s not about getting fired or another job.’

Jon Daniels explains why he fired Jeff Banister as Rangers manager

Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels says that a new voice was needed in the manager’s seat, so Jeff Banister was let go Friday.
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Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels says that a new voice was needed in the manager’s seat, so Jeff Banister was let go Friday.

With a contract that runs through at least 2020, Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels does not need the season the Rangers are enjoying, but he needs this.

The people who pay the bills typically prefer proof that the man whom they give unlimited power over personnel for the Rangers knows what he is doing.

“In terms of self preservation, I really don’t think about it,” Daniels told me. “It’s not about getting fired, or getting another job. The Rangers have been great to me. I want to win with the people we have here.”

Spoken like a man of the house who has made enough cash to support his family for generations. Good for him, and anyone else, who does this.

“I want to leave, whenever that is down the road,” he said, “with the organization in a better place than when I got here.”

We are talking about the Texas Rangers, making JD’s goal akin to the kangaroo who aspires to jump over a dead flea.

As much as Rangers owners Ray Davis and Bob Simpson have bought into Daniels to the point he has achieved Jason Garrett-like stature with the Jones family, “Ray Bob” is no different than any other big league boss. They need results.

The Rangers’ pitching does not look stable enough to maintain their record that was seven games over .500 heading into Wednesday’s game in Detroit, and hold up through the end of September, but ... allow us to take this moment and be, as the kids say, quite real: The Rangers need to hold our attention through kickoff.

Once a football goes up, that is the ball of preference in these here parts.

The Rangers, a team that myself and so many others thought would need God’s touch, and luck, to finish above last place in the American League West, are in the mix for one of the two American League Wild Card spots.

However many moves JD has blown (see: Profar, Jurickson, the contract for Rougned Odor, promoting Joseph Gallo too quickly), this team is undeniable progress. They are decent, and interesting.

Without a World Series title, JD’s greatest attribute will always be that of endurance. Granted, the team reached consecutive World Series, and were within one strike (twice) of actually winning one ... and then something else happened that my brain prevents me from recalling.

One more strike and JD’s resume changes to Epstein-ish. Today, the Rangers remain one of six MLB franchises without a World Series.

From the time Tom Hicks hired JD to replace John Hart to Nolan Ryan’s decision to keep him when he was given the keys, by Hicks, to approve every move, JD is the Texas Rangers more than any player or manager.

After consecutive dog years, he needed not necessarily a winner but progress. JD needs a team that flirts with .500. Vegas set the Rangers’ over/under win total at 71.

“I couldn’t be happier with the transition to (new manager Chris Woodward),” he said. “Some of the steps forward we have seen with the pitching staff. We are happy with where we are, but we are not counting anything at this point.”

The team is still loaded with enough concerns to think they are deep enough to be a top four team in the American League; no one could blame JD if he becomes a seller at the trade deadline and moves guys like Mike Minor and a few others.

But that we are having this conversation near the end of June with the Rangers contending for a postseason position is progress.

JD says he doesn’t think about needing this season for his own resume, which is BS, but know his bosses do.

JD needed this.

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