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Jon Daniels (born August 24, 1977) is the current General Manager (GM) of the U.S. baseball club the Texas Rangers. He is the youngest GM in Major League Baseball.



After graduating from Cornell University in 1999, Daniels went into business development for Allied Domecq.[1]


Baseball career

His baseball career began in 2001, when he landed an internship with the Colorado Rockies. After the baseball season concluded that year, Daniels was informed of an opening in the Rangers organization. He applied and was hired by then GM John Hart as assistant director of baseball operations. In July 2004, Grady Fuson left the organization and Daniels was promoted to assistant GM.

General manager

On October 4, 2005, Hart announced he was stepping down as GM and the Rangers replaced him with Daniels. At the age of 28 years and 41 days, Jon Daniels became the youngest GM in baseball history. Many of his high profile trades and free-agent signings have had mixed results. The Rangers overall have paid greater attention and allocated more resources on the farm system and international scouting.

2006 Season

Daniels' first major deal as general manager was trading Alfonso Soriano to the Washington Nationals for Brad Wilkerson, Terrmel Sledge, and Armando Galarraga, a move that perplexed many Rangers fans in the DFW area at the time. The move had many pros and cons. Soriano hit 46 homers and went on to steal 41 bases the next season and Wilkerson played most of the season injured and ended with a .222 batting average. On the other hand, trading Soriano opened up a spot for rookie Ian Kinsler and freed up money that would have been spent on Soriano's salary to be more flexible in offering Kevin Millwood a large contract. Still, Millwood's subsequent performance has been unspectacular, and Kinsler's position could have been opened up just as easily by moving Soriano to the outfield. Nevertheless, Soriano signed one of baseball's most expensive contracts with the Chicago Cubs where he has been somewhat prone to injury and experienced mixed success.

Another move that still upsets many Rangers fans was a trade that Daniels made in December of 2005, sending pitcher Chris Young, outfielder Sledge and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the San Diego Padres for pitchers Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka, and catcher Billy Killian. While Otsuka filled a valuable role as the Rangers closer, the oft-injured Eaton only pitched 65 innings with an ERA of 5.12. Dallas-native Chris Young pitched 180 innings for the Padres, racking up 164 K's and posting an ERA of 3.46. Adrian Gonzalez (considered a prized prospect) batted .304 for the Padres while hitting 24 home runs. Many Rangers fans consider this deal even worse than the Soriano deal.

Some of Daniels' other moves have been better received. On the eve of the 2006 season, after losing #2 starter Eaton to injury, Daniels made a three-way deal, sending Juan Dominguez to the Oakland Athletics for John Rheinecker and Freddie Bynum, the latter of which he turned and traded to the Chicago Cubs for John Koronka. Koronka and Rheinecker helped shore up the Rangers rotation in April and May, while Dominguez stayed at Oakland's AAA affiliate for the entire year.

Another trade Daniels made was sending Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench, and Francisco Cordero to the Milwaukee Brewers for minor leaguer Nelson Cruz, and All-star left fielder Carlos Lee. The trade was completed just before the trade deadline of the 2006 season. Lee was the most sought after trade target during the season and was supposed to provide the Rangers with a strong bat in the middle of the lineup. Lee was only in a Ranger uniform for a couple of months before the season ended, and did not live up to the high expectations of Rangers fans. Lee then signed a $100 million free agent contract with the Houston Astros, giving the Rangers the #17 and #35 draft picks in 2007 as compensation. Cordero had a career resurgence with the Brewers, making the All-star team in 2007 before signing a four year contract averaging more than 10 million annually with the Cincinnati Reds. Cruz emerged as a power-hitting All-Star in the 2009 season for the Rangers.

2007 Season

In late December, 2006, Daniels collaborated with White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams, engineering a trade that caught many within baseball's inner circles off guard. The Rangers acquired young starter Brandon McCarthy in exchange for the even younger John Danks. This may be one of the worst trades in the Daniels era. Danks proved to be one of the key pieces for the White Sox rotation in 2008, while McCarthy has been an injury-riddled right-hander who hasn't lived up to expectations.

The Texas Rangers received a total of 5 First and supplemental round draft picks for the 2007 draft. The Rangers would have had an additional pick (#18) which they forfeited to Toronto by signing Frank Catalanotto.

17th RHP Blake Beavan (received from Astro's for signing Carlos Lee) 24th RHP Michael Main (received from Angel's for signing Gary Matthews Jr.) 35th OF Julio Borbon (Supplemental pick for type A free agent Carlos Lee) 44th RHP Neil Ramirez (Supplemental pick for type A free agent Gary Matthews Jr.) 54th RHP Tommy Hunter (Supplemental pick for type B free agent Mark DeRosa)

On July 31, 2007 Daniels' made two possibly career defining trades, one with the Atlanta Braves, the other with Boston Red Sox. Daniels first agreed with Atlanta Braves General Manager John Schuerholz to trade coveted slugger Mark Teixeira and relief pitcher Ron Mahay for the up and coming prospect, Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Rangers were also able to obtain four minor leaguers in the trade. The first of these prospects, Matt Harrison, emerged as a starter in the 2009 Ranger rotation. The second of the these prospects acquired from the Braves, Elvis Andrus, now widely hailed as an elite young shortstop. Another, Neftali Feliz, is a well regarded power pitcher who joined the Rangers bullpen in 2009.

But there was another substantive trade that day, which occurred just before the trade deadline, Daniels agreed to send closer Eric Gagné to the Boston Red Sox for the young starting pitcher Kason Gabbard, Triple-A prospectDavid Murphy and rookie-level outfielder Engel Beltre.

Not receiving as much attention at the time, Daniels also made a third trade prior to the deadline sending CF Kenny Lofton to the Indians for catching prospect Max Ramirez.

As a result of the 2007 draft, trades, and Latin America free agent signings, the Rangers jumped to the #4 system in Baseball America 2008 organization rankings. This represented the biggest jump since Baseball America began ranking MLB farm systems.

2008 Season

Before the 2008 Season, Daniels traded the 2nd member of what was once dubbed the "DVD trio," sending Edison Volquez to the Reds for Outfielder Josh Hamilton. This trade has received mixed reviews among baseball fans[2] as both Volquez and Hamilton were both voted in as starters in the 2008 MLB All-Star Game[3]. The Rangers lack dominant pitching and the Reds lack dominant offensive power, which either player could provide his former team according to this year's statistics[4]. It is worth noting that the Rangers are more respectable than they have been of late, and the Reds have not improved as much as a team to this point (even with the addition of 2007 All-Star closer Francisco Cordero).

Baseball America recognized the Rangers as having the best farm system following the 2008 system. Notable additions to the system in 2008 included draft picks Justin Smoak, Robbie Ross, and Joe Wieland.

2010 Season

At the 2009 Winter Meetings, many media analysts expected the Rangers to be wallflowers, as the team was up for sale, leaving Daniels with minimal budget. In order to free up salary, Daniels orchestrated a deal with the Baltimore Orioles, dealing veteran starting pitcher Kevin Millwood for young reliever Chris Ray and left-handed pitcher Ben Snyder. With the salary freed up by the departure of Millwood, the Rangers signed free agent Rich Harden. The initial fan and media reaction to the deal was mostly positive, although both Ray and Harden are recovering from arm injuries. Daniels also signed free agents Vladimir Guerrero and Colby Lewis.

Preceded by
John Hart
Texas Rangers General Manager
Succeeded by



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