It bears repeating that the current state of the Texas Rangers is on owner Ray Davis, whose affection for team president Jon Daniels is so unbelievable it’s said to be the basis for the next Nicholas Sparks’ novel.
A Sparks’ romance novel is more plausible than the Jon Daniels story with the Texas Rangers.
Since JD was promoted to the role of general manager in October of 2005, ostensibly to be the Rangers’ version of Theo Epstein, the club has:
Changed owners, dumped Nolan Ryan in favor of Daniels, had seven different managers, moved into a new stadium, is in the midst of its sixth consecutive losing season, and mired in the worst stretch in the history of the franchise.
They also had the most successful run in the history of the team, more than 10 years ago.
In December of 2020, Daniels removed himself as GM of the club in favor of Chris Young, but JD kept himself as the final authority of all baseball decisions.
It stands to reason that the state of the Texas Rangers is on ... the manager?
Sorry, Chris Woodward, you just got J-Deed.
On Monday, the fourth-year manager of the club who signed an extension in the offseason was “dismissed.”
The team is 51-63, and zero threat to reach the postseason even in MLB’s expanded playoff format.
Management believed Woody lost the team, so he’s gone.
The club promoted third-base coach Tony Beasley to interim manager for the remainder of yet another lost season.
Woody is responsible for some odd decisions over the last few weeks, but a few in-game calls aren’t the reason he’s gone.
Once the team spent more than $500 million in the offseason on free agent additions, most notably Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, it raised expectations to dangerously stupid levels.
The same thing happened in 2000, when they signed Alex Rodriguez to a 10-year, $252 million deal. The team was still bad, and manager Johnny Oates resigned just 28 games into the 2001 season.
This current roster isn’t that good, and their record is an accurate reflection of the team.
If you want to point to the team’s 6-24 record in one-run games, go ahead.
Woodward’s firing comes less than a month after Chris Young announced that he expected this club to contend in the second half of the season. And next season.
Young said it maybe to convince himself, or his boss, or disinterested fans, but he couldn’t fool the rest of baseball.
There is no escaping the reality that the job that Daniels did in rebuilding this team starting in 2017 is the reason why the Rangers can’t sniff average.
“I take a lot of responsibility for our performance over the last six years,” Daniels told the media on Monday. “We haven’t been good enough. Ultimately this is a team effort.
“When we were good it wasn’t about it. We have a ways to go. As far as my personal accountability, or situation, we’ll address that down the line.”
Probably sometime in the year 3213.
Rhetorically, no one is better in sports at setting himself on fire better than Jon Daniels. He knows what to say, all the time.
It’s one of the reasons he remains employed.
Also, his team stinks, which is the reason why a club that’s playing in a new, air-conditioned park ranks 17th in MLB attendance.
“With some small improvements we might be in a playoff race,” Young said Monday. “We believe it’s closer than others do.”
He’s right. Not many people believe this team is that close to being in a playoff race.
Because they’re not.
Their first goal is to reach .500, something they have not hit since they won 95 games in 2016.
Once they hit that lofty goal, then they can think about playing a postseason game.
“We did not come into this season thinking we had put together a championship roster,” Daniels said. “We thought we had taken a major step forward. We were realistic about where we are. We thought we’d be better than our record, and better than the way we have played at times.”
Barring a dramatic turn of events, JD will soon be presiding over his fourth new choice as manager of the club. Four new managers under the same GM is ... not normal.
JD hired Ron Washington in 2007, which was arguably JD’s single-best decision since he took over the team. But Wash’ quit for embarrassing personal reasons late in the 2014 season.
JD hired Jeff Bannister. He fired Jeff Bannister late in the 2017 season.
JD hired Chris Woodward in 2019. Now he has fired Chris Woodward with a month and a half remaining in the 2022 season.
“The accountability with the roster sits with me, and our group,” Daniels said.
It does in name only; there are never consequences.
The Rangers aren’t a good team, and that was, and remains, on Jon Daniels.
He knows it.
He said as much.
He’s the final call on all baseball decisions.
So it makes sense to just fire the manager.