The rebuild. 7 comments

Apparently, Jon Daniels hates the term rebuild. He prefers to call what he is doing a “development phase.”

Rebuild is more accurate. That’s what it is. Daniels rebuilt a losing team into an elite champion. Then he deforested it into a last-place team. Now he is trying to rebuild it.

Jamey Newberg wrote an article yesterday on The Athletic comparing this rebuild to what Daniels did in 2007, with his usual optimistic take. But the biggest difference, and what he didn’t address, is that in 2007 Daniels was overcoming the mistakes of others who came before him. Now, he is attempting to course correct his own massive mistakes. This Rangers fiasco is of his own making.

When you talk of his rebuild of 2007, the biggest impact actually came in the middle of that season. The Mark Teixeira Trade. The deal that single-handedly made Jon Daniels a boy genius.

Two and a half years later, his team was in the World Series for the first time ever.

It was decreed that this was the model franchise. Daniels made a promise to Rangers fans that they would always have an elite-caliber team.

Until it wasn’t.

Everything was going well until Josh Hamilton failed to catch an easy fly ball to punctuate a monumental collapse that saw this team blow a five-game lead with nine games left to play. They went 2-7, Oakland caught them on the second-to-last day of the season, the Rangers ended up settling for a wild card slot, and lost that game to Baltimore in what looked like shellshocked fashion.

Just like that, the wind was out of the elite sail.

Yes, the Rangers won 91 games in 2013. But they were one of the worst 90-win teams in baseball history. They tied for the wild card slot, and lost the wild card game, meekly, totally outmanned. If ever there was a team that was the beneficiary of the unbalanced schedule, it was the 2013 Texas Rangers. They had the good fortune of having two patsies in their division, the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Angels, facing them a combined 38 times. They went 32-6.

Which means, against the rest of baseball, they were a lousy 59-65. They snuck past the bouncer but were carded when they got to the bar. Then 2014 revealed who they really were.

Since 2102, in fact, the Rangers are a combined 486-487.

The Rangers have had a decade with five amazing seasons: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016. But it’s the next five years that it’s all about now

Despite what Jon Daniels wants to call it, he is in rebuild mode.

With both his team and his reputation.

  • elkaba

    Kevin, that’s the best summation of where we are I’ve read to date. It’s kind of hard to rebuild a house when you can’t even admit that’s what you’re doing, when you insist to everyone (but at least, hopefully, not to yourself) that all you’re doing is rearranging some furniture.

    • dearmidol

      I keep reading people call this the decade of excellence or something like that. So I did some math. I was surprised to find that the Rangers are actually under .500 the past six seasons. And that includes two division championships. You can’t have a decade of excellence when for more than half the decade you have a losing record.

  • WhoKnowscs

    I’m sure the ignorance is feigned, but you never know with these viral video attempts. The one that posted the video description on the Youtube page knew though.

    Also nitpick, in 2013 they didn’t technically make the wild card game they lost a tiebreaker.

    • dearmidol

      It was a wild card play-in game. They tied with Tampa Bay for the wild card and had to play a one-game playoff to see who won the wild card that year.

  • WhoKnowscs

    Another difference between now and 2007 is that then JD had some good minds to help him that went to GM other teams(Preller, Levine) and a figurehead that instantly gave the organization some credibility in Nolan and now what does he have?

  • calntom

    There was a lot more to that article than just slamming Daniels material. Anyone else read it?

  • possumrld

    “Which means, against the rest of baseball, they were a lousy 59-65. They snuck past the bouncer but were carded when they got to the bar.” ha! ha! The “line” that made me smile!
    But also we cannot ignore or forget about the devastating injury streak that decimated the Rangers starting rotation, in 2015 (I think) among other positions. In some defense of JD, the story could have read somewhat differently were it not for that very unfortunate chain of events.