The recently hired former pitcher is new to the Texas Rangers’ front office, but has past experience in baseball operations.
You might look at a list of former players in sports that have gone on to pursue careers in front offices and be unimpressed with their collective track records. John Elway with the NFL’s Denver Broncos, Derek Jeter with the Miami Marlins or Michael Jordan with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets are just a few of those names.
But while that list might serve as a case against the hiring of former MLB pitcher Chris Young as the next GM of the Texas Rangers, it’s a bit more nuanced than that.
None of the former players mentioned above had the type of prior front office experience before taking their current respective posts that Young has had.
A graduate of Princeton University, Young has spent the last few years since retiring from his playing career in MLB’s executive offices in New York. There, he served as a senior Vice President overseeing umpiring and game operations.
And those who have had the opportunity to work with the former hurler during his tenure as an executive believe he’s a rising star in the industry.
This appears to be no small get for the Texas Rangers. In Chris Young, the team’s front office is getting a bright individual who understands the game both from an analytical perspective and from a player’s perspective, a rare blend of experiences that can help inform personnel decisions now and going forward.
The fact that Young became a popular name for GM vacancies across baseball speaks volumes about his breadth of knowledge and only confirms the excitement around the Rangers organization that they potentially landed the next great baseball executive.
Don’t get it twisted, Young had options. He could have chosen to take over the reigns of a team with a more competitive roster heading into 2021 (the New York Mets were publicly rumored to have been interested in his services, for example).
Instead, he chose to return home to Texas, prioritizing the well-being of his family and his desire to remain close by them.
However, he must also be fully aware of the Texas-sized task that lies ahead of him over the coming months and years: rebuilding a barren roster and talent pool with a limited budget.
Young will also have to answer some immediate questions regarding the state of the franchise. For instance, will manager Chris Woodward, well-liked by both the players and organization, be returning for a third season in Arlington in 2021 despite an unsuccessful 2020?
Will Lance Lynn be traded? Will the Rangers be able to dump the onerous Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus contracts? Will the team extend Joey Gallo? How will the organization go about acquiring young talent for the farm system? And perhaps most telling, what kind of front office will Young put together to surround himself with the best personnel possible?
These are all challenges the former MLB pitcher will need to address in both the short and long term. The fact that Young is willing to take this rebuilding effort head on despite these obstacles should be extremely encouraging for Ranger fans.
Of course, fans must be willing to demonstrate patience and let Young do his job as he was brought into to do.
Ultimately, only time will tell how this hire pans out. But if past testimony and Young’s background are any indications, the Rangers’ future could be very bright.