With the Chris Young era as G.M. for the Texas Rangers underway, I thought it was time to take a look back at some of the best and worst trades, signings, etc. made by Jon Daniels.

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There will be three moves not listed. One is the Ian Kinsler/Prince Fielder trade. If the team was aware of any medical conditions with Fielder then it never would have happened. And with insurance covering the majority of his contract it really didn’t hurt Texas in the long run.

I also will not be listing the free-agent signings of Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman. Those two were fought for by Nolan Ryan. Daniels caved and neither one had success here.

Now I’m not going to list every move. Just those that made a big impact on the team or were head-scratching decisions.

The Best

  • Texas sends Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench, and Francisco Cordero to the Brewers for Nelson Cruz and Carlos Lee. I didn’t like this trade at first for personal reasons. Mench was one of my favorite players (I even had his jersey). Nelson’s eventual impact made me actually forget all about the trade.
  • Texas sends Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay to the Braves for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, and Neftali Feliz. Believe it or not, Saltalamacchia was the key piece for Texas who thought of him as their catcher of the future.
  • Texas sends Eric Gagne to the Red Sox for David Murphy, Kason Gabbard, and Engel Beltre.
  • Soon after was the trade that sent prized pitching prospect Edinson Volquez to the Reds for Josh Hamilton.
  • Before the 2010 season began Jon Daniels signed free agents Vladamir Guerrero and Colby Lewis.

A foundation for success had been laid. During the 2010 season, there would be two more big moves that would help fuel Texas to their first postseason trip since 1999. There was the small trade that brought the Rangers Bengie Molina and one even bigger trade. That was when the Rangers sent Justin Smoak and Blake Beavan to the Mariners for Cliff Lee and Mark Lowe.

The following offseason saw the trade for Mike Napoli and the free-agent signings of Adrian Beltre and Shin-Soo Choo. they all played roles in the Rangers’ 2011 repeat season as American League champions. Beltre ended up cementing his status as one of the greatest to ever wear a Rangers uniform.

Jon Daniels was also key in the signing of prized Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. Nolan Ryan was against the move until Daniels forced him to have lunch with Darvish. Nolan was then on board.

There have been other good moves including the trade for Cole Hamels. Other moves resulted in improving the farm system we have now and time will tell how those pans out.

The Worst

I’ll start with the absolute worst. And it’s a bit ironic as it involves current G.M. Chris Young.

  • The Rangers sent Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young to the Padres for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka. Eaton never panned out and Otsuka had one good season here. Gonzalez though ended having an all-star career. He was moved because he was blocking Mark Teixeira at first base. And we all know where Mark ended up.
  • There was also the trade that sent Alfonso Soriano to the Nationals. Some may list this as good because it opened up a spot for Ian Kinsler. I consider it bad because it didn’t net them any help in return. At least nobody contributed.
  • Rich Harden anyone?
  • Trading Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter for Koji Uehara were not well-liked. Texas gave up too early on Davis who went on to mash the ball in Baltimore. Yes, Mitch Moreland was good but serviceable at best.
  • Texas sends Mike Olt, Carl Edwards, Neil Ramirez, and Justin Grimm to the Cubs for Matt Garza. That was a lot for a hot-head that didn’t last.
  • And don’t even get me started on the other trade with the Cubs that landed us Ryan Dempster.

What it all breaks down to is that Jon Daniels is like any other G.M. in that they all have their good moves and bad moves. And like it or not you have to admit that he was one of the best in the business when you look at the success he built here.

Hopefully ten years from now I’ll be writing a similar piece about Chris Young.

Until next time, I’ll see you in the cheap seats!

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