Texas Rangers: Best Three and Worst Three Trades of GM Jon Daniels
At the age of 28 years and 41 days, Jon Daniels became the youngest GM in baseball history on October 4, 2005, succeeding John Hart.
Daniels took over a team that was restocking the roster from the outside via free agency. After turning that around completely by rebuilding through the draft he's turned around the Rangers win-loss column as well. He led the Rangers to their first World Series appearance last year in his fifth season at the helm.
He's also well known for setting the standard for getting the most for a player in their prime. He will forever be linked with that trade, but for Rangers fans there are a few trades they would like to forget. Here is Jon Daniels' best three and worst three trades.
Soriano to the Nationals for Wilkerson, Sledge and Galarraga
Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias came to Texas in exchange for Alex Rodriguez, in a trade made by the former GM, John Hart. Worst part of that deal was that the Rangers could have selected Robinson Cano instead of Arias at the time. This trade wasn't much better.
Some say JD's hand was forced and he had to get rid of Soriano, just weeks after taking over the job. The Nat's GM at the time, Jim Bowden, got the best of the rookie GM.
Soriano had two very productive seasons at second base for the Rangers. The Nats got one good season out of Soriano too before he flew the coup for $136 million from the Cubs. This left Washington with just compensation draft picks, one of which ended up being pitcher Jordan Zimmerman.
The Rangers however got Brad Wilkerson, who hit .222 and .234 in his two seasons in Texas. Wilkerson has been regarded as one of the worst Rangers hitters ever. Termel Sledge never played a game with the Rangers as he was flipped to the Padres in another horrific trade that will be covered in another slide.
Armando Galarraga gave the Rangers 8.2 innings of nondescript pitching and he too was later traded to Detroit for outfielder Michael Hernandez who never played in Arlington, and is no longer in the organization.
In summary 8.2 innings and a .222 batting average is very little return for one of the most dynamic players in the game at that time.
Gonzalez, Sledge and Young to the Padres for Eaton, Otsuka and Killian
Adrian Gonzalez was blocked at first by Mark Teixeira so he had to be traded, but not this badly. Gonzalez was acquired by the Rangers in a deal with Florida for Ugueth Urbina in 2003, three years and six days after the Marlins made him the number one overall pick of the 2000 draft.
Gonzalez had two seasons at AAA Oklahoma City where hit over .300, but he had no position in Arlington. Buck Showalter didn't think Chris Young would hold up physically in the pros, so he too was shipped with Sledge and Gonzalez. In Young's subsequent three seasons, he was arguably San Diego's best pitcher. Gonzalez is of course a perennial All-Star and is on the verge of signing a very rich extension with the Red Sox.
Eaton gave Texas 65 innings of hard work with an ERA over five before he was granted free agency a year later. Akinori Otsuka was the lone bright spot. He was a solid late inning reliever in two seasons with WHIPs below 1.08. Billy Killian never made it to Arlington posting pedestrian numbers in the minors.
The haul of Eaton, Otsuka and Killian pales in comparison to what Boston just paid to get Gonzalez in December.
Danks, Rasner, Massett to the White Sox for McCarthy and Paisano
John Danks was deemed a year further away than McCarthy by the Rangers front office. That was the rationale for a team that wanted to compete right away. The Rangers for the record finished last in the AL West with 75 wins, the season after this trade was completed.
McCarthy had already had two big league seasons under his belt when the deal was made. Rangers fans continuously checked box scores comparing McCarthy and Danks starts. In 2007 both pitched at similar levels, however its been a landslide in Danks favor since then. McCarthy continued to struggle with a variety of injuries and was not retained as a free agent this Winter and signed with the A's.
Massett has been a steady bullpen outlet for the White Sox as well as the Reds, who he was later traded to for Ken Griffey Jr.. Jacob Rasner and David Paisano are still in the minors with each team.
Volquez, Herrera to the Reds for Hamilton
Edinson Volquez and Josh Hamilton's seasons have mirrored each others until last season. Both had break out seasons in 2008, the year after the trade. Both regressed and were slowed down by injuries in 2009. In 2010, however, Volquez only pitched 62.2 innings after coming back from Tommy John surgery. In 2010, Josh Hamilton won the AL MVP.
Danny Ray Herrera, like Nick Massett, is a solid arm in the Reds bullpen for Dusty Baker to utilize.
Hamilton's MVP and performance in the playoffs makes this trade a win for the Rangers. I'll see it that way until Volquez wins the NL Cy Young, then it would still just equal out.
From the Reds' perspective it's hard to complain though. Cincinnati drafted Hamilton in the rule five draft, and flipped him into a front-line starter a year later, that's pretty good value from the rule five draft.
I'm sure at different times Rangers and Reds fans would like to reverse this trade, but as of today it's Cincinnati that would like Hamilton back for Volquez.
Gagne to Boston for Murphy, Gabbard and Beltre
Eric Gagne was dealt at the trade deadline to Boston, who was looking to bolster their bullpen for a title run. Gagne registered 16 saves through the first four months of the season with an ERA of 2.16. Over 20 appearances for the Red Sox, his ERA more than tripled for a Boston team that went on to win the 2007 World Series over the Colorado Rockies.
So Boston got negative value from Gagne.
Texas got David Murphy who has been whatever the Rangers have needed him to be. He's played all three outfield positions filling in for whoever is injured at the time or whoever needs rest. He's one of the best forth outfielders in the game and may have even started a fair share of games over the past four seasons in the Fenway outfield since this trade was made.
Kason Gabbard gave the Rangers 20 starts of nothing special before returning to the Red Sox.
The Gagne trade keeps giving though. JD would not complete this deal without the inclusion of 17-year-old outfielder Engel Beltre. Beltre is now 21, a Rangers top prospect and on the doorstep to the majors. Beltre's arrival in Arlington will be heavily anticipated as he has been frequently compared to Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr..
Teixeira, Mahay to Atlanta for Andrus, Feliz, Salty, Harrison, Jones
All for 589 ABs of what Mark Teixeira typically gives and 450 ABs of a forgettable Casey Kotchman, who Tex was traded for when Atlanta realized they weren't getting a hometown discount for the hometown hero, who played at Georgia Tech.
John Shuerholtz, the Braves GM at the time, knew he would be stepping down soon and wanted to go all-in for Tex and the season. The Braves put up 84 wins, which was good for third in the NL east in 2007. Atlanta then compounded their loss of a trade by moving Tex at the next trade deadline for exponentially less than what they gave up.
JD and the Rangers knew they weren't going to be able to keep Tex much longer. He had scouts scour all over the league, but clearly he knew the Braves system well. It's well chronicled here in this section what Feliz, Andrus and the others have brought to the Rangers.
The Teixeira trade has become the benchmark for what teams want to fetch when they are looking to deal a valuable commodity. It's the Herschel Walker trade of baseball, and hopefully the Rangers will spin it into multiple championships like the Cowboys.