The start of 2015 has not gone well for the Texas Rangers, as they sit at 8-16. In early spring training, things looked promising after a dismal 2014 season. New manager Jeff Banister had the confidence of both upper management and the players; Jurickson Profar and Yu Darvish seemed to be healthy; and they were finally going to reap the rewards of the Prince Fielder trade. Unfortunately none of that has happened, and the Rangers are dead last in the AL West.
While it's hardly been his fault, Banister hasn't been able to make anything happen -- Profar and Darvish are out for at least all of 2015 and Fielder's power is nowhere to be found. Because of this horrendous start, the Rangers are set to re-evaluate their future, and what needs to be done for the best interests of the franchise.
A "little more critical look"
In a conference call earlier today, Jon Daniels said, "We took a patient approach to the start of the season and I'm glad we did it, but things haven't really picked up. We're going to take a little more critical look at things this road trip."
While he wouldn't elaborate on specific players or staff, it's not impossible to speculate given who's on their roster. It's unclear if these potential moves would involve big name players like Elvis Andrus or Adrian Beltre, but that will likely become clear soon.
Maybe this will help
While the team has certainly not lived up to what the Rangers expected of themselves (some of which is absolutely due to their injury plague), that may be part of the problem. The Rangers front office has been run primarily by Daniels since 2005 when he was named GM of the club at just 28 years old; the youngest ever in MLB history.
In five seasons, he turned the perennial bottom-feeder into a playoff team, and one that made the World Series in back-to-back seasons. He built a powerhouse in the American League in very short time span, and was quickly recognized as one of baseball's best GMs.
Perhaps that look should be in a mirror?
While he undoubtedly deserves a lot of credit for helping the Rangers reach the peak that they did, he also deserves a lot of the blame for how quickly they've fallen apart. After a 91-win season in 2013, they lost a staggering 95 games the following year; and in 2015 are projected to lose 92. In that same conference call, Daniels admitted that "they didn't spend much on the bullpen, that was partly by design and partly a function of the arms we had out there."
Daniels said that he understands he should have done a better job at providing "more weapons for the staff", but that's not exactly something anyone wants to hear from their GM just one month into the season. While it's refreshing that someone in his position can be so honest about a move not paying off, his recognition of it is doesn't excuse that failure, and help ease concerns with his leadership. This is very similar to a moment earlier in 2014, when Daniels bluntly said that it could come back to "haunt [the Rangers] and haunt me".
Rangers roster shenanigans
He "thought way too short term", and risked four prospects (three of whom are legitimate pieces of the Cubs' future) for just Matt Garza, a rental player who wound up signing with the Milwaukee Brewers after the 2013 season. The Rangers unfortunately failed to make a playoff run that year, only compounding the already lopsided trade. In the deal, Daniels sent away two relievers (something they currently need), and future starting pitcher C.J. Edwards who is ranked as the 38th best prospect in baseball.
And yet there is some hope
Despite some questionable moves, and a less than ideal roster construction, the Rangers have the 11th best farm system in baseball, and are still in the midst of a horrible streak of injuries to key players.
While the last 186 games have been atrocious for the club, going 75-111, Daniels' teams combined for a record 457-355 (.526) from 2009 through 2013.Good GM's are hard to come by, but if the Rangers don't make drastic strides to get better quickly, they may need to make a change.