SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There's a lot of talk about the difference of style and opinion between Chuck Greenberg and new CEO Nolan Ryan and co-chairs Ray Davis and Bob Simpson. But one thing that also seems obvious the last few weeks is how valuable Jon Daniels has become inside the organization.
Many wondered why in the world it would take so long to extend the contract of the GM who just put together the squad that went to the franchise's first World Series. We heard that it was a busy offseason. And that's true. But it certainly appears that part of the delay was figuring out what to do about Greenberg's relationship with management. (It had nothing to do with the Michael Young drama this offseason, either).
Despite the delay, Daniels got what he deserved: a four-year extension that makes him GM through 2015. Next on the list is assistant GM Thad Levine and then other staffers.
But by eliminating any doubts as to how the management team is structured, Ryan is clearly giving Daniels his full endorsement. Certainly the extension is a sign of that, but so is the idea that Daniels runs his baseball operations staff without interference. Ryan oversees it and is involved. But it's Daniels' team. He assembled many of them and now has the security to run that operation the way he has the last few years. And Ryan won't let anyone get in the way of that.
The relationship between Ryan and Daniels has grown over the years. Ryan didn't hire Daniels. That was a Tom Hicks call (and one of his better ones). Ryan came in after that. But after watching how Daniels operated, Ryan was impressed. First, the young GM convinced Hicks to re-build knowing that meant some mediocre seasons while the minor league system was revamped. Then he made some shrewd trades to stock that system and allowed the players to grow and eventually wind up in the majors. It culminated in the World Series run in 2010.
Daniels also hired manager Ron Washington, something he did before Ryan's arrival. Now that manager, one that Ryan and Daniels stuck with even after he failed a drug test in 2009, has led his team to a World Series and clearly has the respect of his team.
Ryan has overseen the baseball operations for a while now. But this team has had Daniels' fingerprints on it even before Ryan put his on too. And while Greenberg and Ryan couldn't make the relationship work, Ryan and Daniels have. It's why when Daniels says the Greenberg departure won't impact baseball operations, he's telling the truth. He's been working with Ryan this whole time, regardless of what Greenberg may or may not have been doing.
So just as Greenberg's last few weeks ended up with him out of the organization, the last few weeks have seen Daniels go from someone whose contract was set to expire at the end of 2011 to a guy with a new deal and complete confidence of the guy who is now the CEO and unquestioned leader of the organization. That's good news for Rangers fans.