T.R.’s Memoirs: How Jon Daniels came to lead Rangers’ most successful era (Part 6)
(Rangers Today/John Moore)
Editor’s note: T.R. Sullivan covered the Texas Rangers over 32 years for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and MLB.com and is sharing his “memoirs” with this newsletter.
In this six-part installment, Sullivan covers Jon Daniels’ 17 years as Rangers general manager. In this final installment, a look back at the fall of the Rangers empire.
The Rangers went to two World Series because Jon Daniels and his front office staff made many smart personnel decisions. After 2011, they didn’t get dumb overnight. But after 2011 …
It took a lot of heavy lifting to overcome the disintegration of the best rotation in club history. Daniels tried and made one of his best trades on July 31, 2015, when he acquired Cole Hamels from the Phillies for five minor-league prospects. Three of them were young pitchers.
Hamels was instrumental in the Rangers winning the division that season and again in 2016. Again, in 2016, Daniels was damn the torpedos, full speed ahead. At the July 31 deadline, the Rangers acquired veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy and outfielder Carlos Beltran. Both deals also required big hits to the farm system as far as the players given up.
Two of the players sent to the Brewers for Lucroy were pitcher Luis Ortiz and Lewis Brinson. Both were former No. 1 picks.
So was Dillon Tate, a right-hander from UC-Santa Barbara who had been the fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft. The Rangers took him over Walker Buehler, who went to the Dodgers.
The Rangers sent Tate to the Yankees in the Beltran deal. When Beltran left as a free agent after the season, the Rangers had nothing to show for having the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 draft.
Daniels was going all-in for 2016. Unfortunately, both Hamels and Darvish got their butts kicked in the first two games against Toronto and the Rangers were swept in the division series.
A couple of years later, the Rangers came to the realization it was time to rebuild. The only problem was, the farm system was depleted.