So it came down Friday. Jon Daniels got a promotion and is now President of baseball operations and General Manager. Here’s the good news. He has been a quick study. I mean think about it. He made a couple of regretful trades in his early days and learned from it. He may be a bit on the conservative side, but it has been with the big picture in mind always. He has also played his cards frustratingly too close to the vest. We all know that is what is best, but come on JD, throw us a bone now and then. Daniels has amassed a great team on the field, a great manager and a deep farm system. Becoming president is well deserved. He now has a direct pipeline to the checkbook and the Dallas Morning News suggests he should go ahead and ask for some money now. You have to wonder if that story came at the behest of Daniels. All of that is the good news.
The bad news? We’re not sure what Nolan will be doing with the club (if anything) anymore. Sure Nolan is still the CEO. But what Nolan Ryan brought to the table can never be paid back. He entered the fray on behalf of the new owner’s group in what could easily be called the franchise’s darkest hour. Tom Hicks had no way out but for bankruptcy court. Even after that, Nolan saw a potential problem with part owner Chuck Greenberg. He led the way to the buyout of Greenberg. Nobody knows what really caused the falling out, but I have always suspected it was the “extra” visit that Greenberg paid to Cliff Lee just a day before Lee decided to sign with the Phillies, who weren’t even part of the bidding to that point. Nolan was a key buffer between the owner’s group and Daniels. He handles administrative duties as well as working with young pitcher in Surprise. He’s Nolan Ryan for cryin’ out loud. How could he not be a positive for the club. Nobody knows what these moves mean for Ryan. He did have a couple of health scares and we don’t know if any of this has to do with a real need to retire.
All of this just makes this a transition year both on the field and off. Supposedly the owners want JD to get his entire team to commit to a longer stay. This could mean that Jon Daniels becomes exclusively the president, while someone like Thad Levine steps into Daniels spot as GM. We have several guys on the baseball operations side who would make great GM’s elsewhere. Then there’s the whole issue of what becomes of Nolan. I sure would hate to see that seat between the dugout and home plate be filled with an unfamiliar face.
Odds and Ends….does anybody really like this whole WBC thing? I don’t. I think it is a major distraction. While it is good for spreading the love of baseball worldwide, it’s horrible in the continuity of spring training…..With the Martin Perez injury and Alexi Ogando struggling so far this spring, you have to think the need for Kyle Loshe wouldn’t be higher than right now…..Elvis, really? A tattoo? Let’s hope the name Boras isn’t in it anywhere….a lot of fans are screaming over our W-L for the spring thus far. That has never bothered me until the last week. I have always felt like everything should start coming together then.