2010 World Series Appearance
Keep in mind, Jon Daniels did not take over as GM for the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers. Rather, he took over for an organization that had not experienced any noteworthy success since the turn of the century. Also, for a franchise that had never been to the World Series.
Per Baseball America, the Rangers had the 16th ranked farm system in ’06, the year Jon Daniels took reign. Thus, Daniels did not step in at a time in which a bunch of talent was emerging. Texas Rangers that saw consistent playing time in 2006 included Mark Derosa, Gary Mathews Jr., Kevin Millwood, Brad Wilkerson, and Carlos Lee. Texas also had R.A. Dickey, the non-knuckle ball version. The team finished that season with an 80-82 record.
It was just four years later that the Texas Rangers went to their first ever World Series. Key players in the 2010 World Series run were Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero, Derek Holland and Cliff Lee. Hamilton was acquired via trade in 2007, Guerrero signed as a free agent in the 2010 offseason and Holland was drafted in 2006. Lastly, and most importantly to the success of the 2010 season, Cliff Lee was acquired at the trade deadline in exchange for Justin Smoak and additional prospects.
2011 World Series
2010 was a pleasant surprise. Just getting to the final dance was good enough. 2011, however, was operated with the pure intention to win it all. The Texas Rangers didn’t lose much between the two seasons. Cliff Lee did sign elsewhere in the 2011 offseason, but the Rangers staff more than held up without him.
The key additions were Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli. Each contributed beyond imagination on the field and each established himself as a leader for a team that already had outstanding leadership.
I don’t want to speak too much about the 2011 season as we all know how it ended. Heartbreak aside, that was an unbelievably talented team that was probably the better team in the World Series matchup.
2011 was the greatest season in franchise history and Jon Daniels deserves a ton of credit for it. Two World Series appearances in two years for a team that had never been to one prior. How many GMs have helped guide their team to two in two years? Or even two in 12 years?
Ask yourself two more questions…what if the Rangers won one of those World Series? How would your current opinion of Jon Daniels change?