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Why you should have cared about Thursday’s Red Sox game: Better draft pick, season’s most bizarre play 09.18.14 at 10:01 pm ET
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Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole

PITTSBURGH — Want to look at the Red Sox‘ three-game sweep at PNC Park with a glass-half-full mentality? Here you go: The Red Sox might be moving down in the standings, but up in the draft order.

With their 3-2 loss to the Pirates Thursday night, the Sox are now the fifth-worst team in baseball. That would mean — because of the Astros’ compensatory pick due to not signing Brady Aiken — John Farrell‘s club would be drafting No. 6 overall.

That, in case you forgot, is one spot higher than the disastrous 2012 season yielded. (The Red Sox tabbed high school left-hander Trey Ball with that selection. Ball went 5-10 with a 4.68 ERA in 22 starts in Single-A Greenville this season.)

The Red Sox (66-89) will still have a chance to move up in the order with nine games to play, sitting one-half game in front of Minnesota. There is also the scenario where teams could leapfrog them with supbar final weeks, with the Astros (67-85), Cubs (68-94) and White Sox (69-83) all within striking distance.

How important is getting a pick a few spots closer to the top of the heap? The Pirates’ starter Thursday night should have offered that reminder.

Gerrit Cole — who finished his seven-inning stint allowing two runs while striking out seven and not walking a batter — was the first overall pick taken in the 2011 draft. The No. 6 pick that year? That would be Anthony Rendon, who went to the Nationals. Rendon has been arguably the Nats’ best position player en route to their NL East crown this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: anthony rendon, gerrit cole, jon daniels,
Winning by losing? Why Red Sox’ best chance for 2015 might be crumbling down the stretch 07.29.14 at 11:53 am ET
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The Red Sox‘ run of eight wins in nine games proved a blip, quickly giving way to a crumbling stretch of five straight losses and now six in seven games, the latest a dismal 14-1 defeat at the hands of the Blue Jays. The team has officially raised the “For Sale” flag, and at a time when the team is on pace for 73 games, given the pieces that could be moving in the coming days, there’s a very real chance that the team falls well short of even that.

Of course, there’s something to be said for just such a scenario. In some ways, the most direct path for the Red Sox to be good in 2015 may be the possibility of being wretched for the duration of 2014 — reprising a page from the late-2012 playbook that helped position the Sox for a title in 2013.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels joined Rob Bradford and Alex Speier on The Trade Deadline Show last Thursday to discuss the matter. (To hear the interview, go to the Trade Deadline Show audio on demand page.)

“On some level the rules are in place to create parity. Finishing at the bottom of the standings, we have a chance to do it this year,” Daniels said. “We certainly don’t want to, we weren’t designed that way. The system is set up that it’s an enormous advantage to finish last. It’s something we need to look at as an industry. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: jon daniels, Nelson Cruz,
Why Rangers offer hope to Red Sox 10.25.12 at 10:39 pm ET
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In the middle of the 2007 season, the Texas Rangers were drifting. A few years earlier, the team went 89-73 in 2004, falling short of the wild card but nonetheless displaying a young nucleus of infielders — players like Mark Teixeira and Michael Young – that seemed like it would allow the team to compete on a perennial basis in the AL West. But three years later, that wasn’t happening.

And so, the Rangers made a decisive move. They elected to rebuild, to move on from that core of power-hitting players to take the club in a new direction. And the most significant move proved extraordinary, laying the groundwork for the Rangers’ emergence as a force, a team that reached the playoffs in each of the last three years while getting to the World Series in both 2010 and 2011.

On July 31, 2007, the Rangers dealt Teixeira (along with reliever Ron Mahay) to the Braves for five prospects: Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Beau Jones. Andrus became an All-Star shortstop, Felix an All-Star closer, Harrison an All-Star starter and Saltalamacchia (after changing organizations) merited consideration as an All-Star catcher this year with a tremendous first half for the Red Sox.

Yet the significance of that deal extended beyond just the players who went to Texas. It was also reflected in the freedom that GM Jon Daniels and the Rangers organization had moving forward from that deal.

The memory of that franchise-altering deal came to Daniels when he saw the Red Sox complete their blockbuster deal with the Dodgers, sending Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to Los Angeles in exchange for first baseman James Loney and prospects Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Jerry Sands and Ivan De Jesus Jr.

“I do see some similarities there,” Daniels said of the two deals on WEEI’s Red Sox Hot Stove show on Thursday. “[The similarities were] not necessarily in the exact construction of the deal. Ours was kind of a more traditional buyer/seller scenario, trading the established big leaguer for prospects. In Boston’s deal, it was really unique. You don’t see that many like it. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: elvis andrus, Ian Kinsler, Jacoby Ellsbury, jon daniels
Rangers architect Jon Daniels was nearly a Red Sox 10.19.11 at 1:50 am ET
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Long gone are the days when Jon Daniels received vexed looks by those who could not believe that he was old enough to be a major league general manager.

Daniels is still the youngest GM in the majors at 34, but he has spent six years in charge of building the Rangers’ organization, and in 2011, for the second straight year, he has steered Texas into the World Series. A combination of tremendously talented homegrown players, savvy trades and occasional dips into free agency have cemented the perception that the Rangers under Daniels have become one of the best organizations in the game.

For that reason, it is fascinating to consider his baseball roots — both where he did and did not get his start.

Daniels went to Cornell and received his degree in Applied Economics and Management. Out of college, he lived in the Boston area while working for Allied Domecq, a company that was dealing with the branding of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins. The undertaking was uninteresting, and so, following the path of college friend A.J. Preller (now the Rangers Senior Director of Player Personnel, who was then an intern with the Phillies), Daniels decided in 2001 to seek an internship in a baseball front office.

He lived in Boston, and so the first place to interview was obvious enough. Daniels submitted his resume to the Red Sox. At that time, the Sox were in the early stages of creating a baseball operations internship program, a task that had been entrusted to then-baseball operations assistant Ben Cherington by then-GM Dan Duquette as a means of injecting young talent into the team’s front office structure. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: ben cherington, jed hoyer, jon daniels, Padres
Rangers GM discusses ‘error’ that led to dealing Adrian Gonzalez 04.02.11 at 8:47 am ET
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jon Daniels had an eventful first winter as GM of the Rangers when he took over control of the club’s baseball operations following the 2005 season. He unloaded Alfonso Soriano, acquired Vicente Padilla and made a couple of additional minor moves.

But there is unquestionably one trade that, more than five years later, he regrets. In December of 2005, he agreed to a trade (which was officially announced on Jan. 6, 2006) that sent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, outfielder Terrmel Sledge and pitcher Chris Young to the Padres in exchange for pitcher Adam Eaton and reliever Akinori Otsuka.

It was a move meant to bolster the short-term playoff hopes of the club. The Rangers had emerged as surprise contenders in 2004, when they went 89-73. They followed that by going 79-83 in the 2005 campaign.

Still, the team thought that if it could acquire some quality pitching, it had a shot of competing in an AL West division that did not feature any juggernauts. The Rangers had what most viewed as one of the best young position playing cores in the game, led by an infield that featured first baseman Mark Teixeira, shortstop Michael Young and third baseman Hank Blalock.

Gonzalez (whom the Rangers had acquired in a deal with the Marlins in 2003) was seemingly blocked at first by Teixeira. Though the young prospect — who served primarily as a DH while with the Rangers in 2005, in deference to Teixeira’s entrenched position at first — was open to playing the outfield, most in the industry expected that Texas would be forced to trade him.

And to a degree, they were right. The Rangers concluded that his greatest value to them was likely as a trade chip.

“I know that at the time, when Mark Teixeira was here, it led to a lot of clubs making an assumption that we would trade him, that we wouldn’€™t be able to keep both of them. We did get some inquiries on him [prior to the San Diego trade,” said Daniels. “We didn’€™t obviously project him to be the superstar that he’€™s become. Clearly, had we known that, we would have found a way to make it work. But we thought he was going to be a good player. At a young age, he was always a guy we thought would hit. The question was how much power. He’€™s matured into one of the better power hitters in the game, clearly.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adam eaton, adrian gonzalez, akinori otsuka, jon daniels
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