MLB: Rating front offices of the AL West

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 23: (L-R) Seattle Mariners President Kevin Mather, majority owner John Stanton, Marco Gonzales #7 and general manager Jerry Dipoto of the Seattle Mariners pose for a photo with Kyle Lewis' Most Valuable Pitcher award for the Seattle chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America Awards before their game against the Houston Astros at T-Mobile Park on September 23, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 23: (L-R) Seattle Mariners President Kevin Mather, majority owner John Stanton, Marco Gonzales #7 and general manager Jerry Dipoto of the Seattle Mariners pose for a photo with Kyle Lewis' Most Valuable Pitcher award for the Seattle chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America Awards before their game against the Houston Astros at T-Mobile Park on September 23, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Texas Rangers

Jon Daniels, president of baseball ops and GM: -1.7 games

Some day somebody is going to explain how Jon Daniels has lasted this long as general manager of the Rangers. It is not understandable based on his record.

Since assuming charge of the front office in 2006, Daniels’ various personnel moves have damaged Texas’ roster by more than 30 WAA. He’s only improved the team in six of those seasons, none since 2016.

In 2020, the Rangers managed to finish 14 games behind the division leaders, which is quite a feat in 60 games. They haven’t been closer than that since winning the division in 2016.

Yet Daniels not only remains in office, he appears to remain secure. He signed a multi-year extension in 2018 of an unannounced length.

In 2020, Daniels did what he usually does. Of his 36 personnel moves since the end of the 2019 season affecting the team’s roster, only nine – that’s 25 percent, folks – produced short-term positive value.

The most positive were a pair of rookies, pitcher Kyle Cody and outfielder Leody Taveras. Both touched +0.8.

His more publicized moves did not fare nearly as well. He traded for Corey Kluber, but learned what the Indians already knew: Kluber’s best days were behind him. Jordan Lyles signed a two-year, $16 million free-agent deal and returned a 1-6 record and 7.02 ERA.

Kyle Gibson, brought in with Lyles and Kluber to bolster the rotation, was 2-6, 5.35.

The sum total of all of Daniels’ forays into the free-agent market since the end of 2019 amounted to -3.6 games. Among the 31 MLB GMs (counting Luhnow and Click separately), that ranked 28th.

Here is the annual short-term performance rating of the Rangers front office since 2016:

  • 2016:     +2.4
  • 2017:     +4.1
  • 2018:     -2.4
  • 2019:     -4.2
  • 2020:     -1.7