The Benefit Of The Doubt

It has been a weird 365 days for Jon Daniels. He had a superstar and former AL MVP go into a shell both offensively and defensively after a lapse in his sobriety. He saw his star-laden team fold up shop at the end of the season and lose the division in the final series of the year in Oakland. He watched a mediocre Joe Saunders shut down his team in a one game AL Wild Card Game. He saw an off season where a high profile pitcher took more money to play in LA and his much maligned slugger depart for the same city. He watched that same slugger’s wife criticize the Rangers for “not putting a ring on it.” He traded away Michael Young, the “face of the franchise,” to both cheers and jeers. He was ostracized by the fans and the media for “doing nothing” in the off season. He was promoted to Team President by the Texas ownership group, a move that allegedly infuriated Nolan Ryan to the point of almost leaving his post as CEO of the Rangers. After this year’s non-waiver trade deadline, JD was again criticized for not making a trade for a much needed right handed hitter.
Yet, through all of that garbage, despite all of the obstacles, Jon Daniels stayed the course and has done his best to improve the team. Yesterday Jon Daniels got the right handed hitter he was seeking all along, and at a discounted rate. Alex Rios was acquired in exchange for cash considerations and a player to be named later. The PTBNL has been reported to be Leury Garcia, who in the estimation of most scouts profiles to be a utility infielder at the major league level. We don’t exactly know what the White Sox asked for Rios during or prior to the trade deadline, but reports are that Martin Perez and a list of highly coveted prospects were mentioned by the Chicago brass. In Jon Daniels fashion, he waited them out, and got Rios at a discounted rate, compared to a week and a half ago.

When describing Jon Daniels the term Jedi seems to be a favorite among the fans. But he’s only a Jedi when a move is made that appeases the fans. JD was not considered a Jedi or a ninja in the offseason when Napoli and Hamilton walked. When he traded Michael Young half of the fan base was in shock and called it a terrible move since there would be no leadership. When the Nolan Ryan drama was going on, he was called “a NYC jabroni” by one fan. That still cracks me up.

Jon Daniels has continued to make shrewd moves during his tenure as Rangers General Manager. He will keep making moves to try to get this thing to a World Series, sooner rather than later. Jon Daniels cares about winning, and winning moves are seldom easy ones. Chris Davis has found himself in Baltimore, and good for him. But it may never have happened here. Not “putting a ring on it” has certainly worked out for the Rangers with the emergence of Leonys Martin and the fact that Josh Hamilton is apparently lost in LA. Not giving Zack Greinke the keys to the kingdom has allowed Martin Perez his chance to shine on the big stage. With Michael Young on the roster that probably means that Jurickson Profar is sitting in Round Rock.

Buying high priced free agents year in and year out can strap a team financially or simply blow up in your face, like the Yankees or Angels. The Rangers are about winning, but not at all costs. I’m sure the Angels would love to have Jean Segura in their system today. Jurickson Profar is still in the Texas organization for a reason.

But when you want something, you have to give up something. The key is not giving up too much. The trade for Matt Garza involved a couple of highly valued prospects. Mike Olt is going to be a good player at some point and CJ Edwards may be a very nice pitcher in a few years. But Olt, Edwards and Justin Grimm do not break your franchise and Matt Garza may just be what the doctor ordered when it comes down to the division and hopefully beyond. Was the asking price high? Yes, but not so high that it cripples the Rangers future.

Jon Daniels trusts his team of executives. He trusts his scouts, his players and his manager.

We should give JD the benefit of the doubt and trust him regardless of what a single move means to us personally. As fans and writers and bloggers and the like, sometimes we do not see the forest for the trees. Jon Daniels, Thad Levine and the rest of the brain trust not only see the forest. They see the mountain range beyond the forest, the lake beyond the mountain range and the championship trophy that lies beyond the lake.

In JD We Trust.

Patrick Despain is the CEO and Co-Founder of ShutDown Inning. He can be reached at or on Twitter @ShutDownInning
Patrick Despain
Patrick is a member of the IBWAA and creator of Shutdown Inning. He was raised him Arlington, Texas and grew up watching games on HSE and listening to Eric Nadel and Mark Holtz on the radio. He is a long time Rangers fan and never achieved his dream of being a bat boy. He know lives in Georgia with dreams of a Texas return.

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