Chat with Rangers GM Jon Daniels
When Daniels was hired in October 2005, at 28 years, 41 days, he became the youngest GM in the history of MLB. He had been with the Rangers for three seasons prior to assuming the position.
Send in your questions now and join Daniels at 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday!
Buzzmaster (5:18 PM)
Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels will stop by to chat at 5:30 p.m. ET!
Jon Daniels (5:31 PM)
Hey thanks for having me. Let's get started.
Dave (Colorado Springs)
Greeting Jon, big Rangers fan here. Are you still looking to add any more starting pitching to the rotation or a solid bat?
Jon Daniels (5:32 PM)
We are pretty comfortable with our lineup but we are exploring the possibility of getting a starter. But we are also ready to go to camp with what we got.
When you traded for Josh Hamilton did you expect him to be as good as he is now?
Jon Daniels (5:33 PM)
You know, in the winter meetings we talked about it. Our scouts felt he had the ability to be an MVP player, and we felt it may take him a year or two to get there with the change in league. But he exceeded that timeline pretty quickly.
What are your thoughts of a salary cap?
Jon Daniels (5:36 PM)
I know it is a popular topic right now. I do think there is some merit to those talks from the standpoint of competitive balance. Taht said, we have only had one repeat world series winner in the last eight years, that team being the Red Sox. I do not think a high payroll alone allows you to be a contender, but it does allow you stay at the top of a winning cycle for a little longer, while a couple lower payroll teams are usually there, but they cycle in and out quicker.
Neftali is regarded as one of the best prospects in all of the minors. Do you see him making a difference this year for the ballclub?
Jon Daniels (5:38 PM)
He will be in a big league camp for the first time and it is easy to see he has a pretty special arm, and we are learning he also has a pretty special work ethic. That is a nice combination to have in a young pitcher. In a perfect world we would like to see him get more development, but he is a guy that could move quickly.
David (Flower Mound, TX)
What are three or four attributes you look for in a minor league pitcher that tell you he's ready to or capable of producing at the major league level?
Jon Daniels (5:40 PM)
What we look for first and foremost is fastball command. Secondly, the ability to command the secondary pitches, especially when behind in the count. And from a makeup standpoint, the ability to handle failure, because very few of these guys have had to experience any type of failure in the minors and they will likely have to handle it at somepoint in the big leagues and we want to see how they handle that and if they can bounce back from it.
With internationall signings, what exactly is involved in making a connection with a player, and at what age does an organization begin the scouting process?
Jon Daniels (5:43 PM)
There is a lot that goes into it. We have a great international scouting staff led by AJ Preller. AJ and his group have done great job scouting and getting to know players. Two developed areas are the Caribbean and the Pacific Rim and there are other areas developing as well, such as Europe and South America. Our focus in the past has been the Caribbean and the Pacific Rim the last year or so. It is a bigger challenge since there is less organized baseball on the amateur side. But we feel we can also get a competitive advantage by getting to know players. As far as the age of players, you cannot sign a player until the age of 16, but we ask our scouts to put together lists a year or two ahead of that.
Blair: Frisco, TX
If Blalock is traded, would you consider moving Max Ramirez into the ML lineup as a full-time DH or would you prefer that he continue to improve as a catcher in AAA?
Jon Daniels (5:46 PM)
I am not sure about that hypothetical, since we plan on Hank being a big part of the team this year. Interesting question though, because we do feel like Max can swing the bat at a big league level. We also feel like with more time behind the plate he can become a solid MLB catcher. People forget that he has not been a catcher for very long. It is a hypothetical, but both options are attractive.
Russell (McKinney, TX)
Jon, How do you see the west shaping up this year? What would the Rangers need to do to truly compete?
Jon Daniels (5:49 PM)
A good start would be not giving up 900 runs again. I think the Angels are considered the team to beat until someone knocks them off. I know they have lost some notable guys, but they are getting guys back from injury and they have done a good job of adding to their core in past years. The A's made big offensive additions with Giambi and Holliday and I expect Seattle to be better. I think it will be a competitive division. I think for us, we need to keep our pitching staff healthy and develop our young players. I would like to think it will be a more competitive summer in the West than it was a year ago.
Who is going to surprise us the most on the Rangers with their fine performance this year?
Jon Daniels (5:51 PM)
I do not know if it will be a surprise, but I like C.J. Wilson to bounce back and have a good year for us. He had to deal with a bone spur last year, and in 2007 was one of the better set up men in the league. I also like Matt Harrison getting a full year, and I would like to see what a healthy Millwood and Padilla can do.
Jon Daniels (5:52 PM)
Appreciate all the questions and interest. We are excited about 2009 and what our scouts and develoment guys have done for us. Appreciate your support.
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