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Rangers hire Chris Young as GM, retain Jon Daniels as president of baseball operations

Just over three years since he last pitched in the big leagues, Young becomes a major league GM.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals Photo by Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

In a rather unexpected development, the Rangers announced Friday afternoon that they have hired Chris Young as their new general manager. Jon Daniels, who had been Texas’ general manager since October 2005 and had held dual titles as GM and president of baseball operations, will be retained as the head of the club’s baseball operations department.

While there had been some questions about the incumbent GM’s job security near the end of the 2020 season, there was no clear indication that the Rangers were searching for an executive to work in tandem with Daniels. Likewise, it appeared unlikely that Young would leave his existing position as MLB’s senior vice president of on-field operations, as he recently interviewed for the Mets’ general manager job before reportedly pulling out over his reluctance to relocate his family from his hometown of Dallas to New York. In a convenient twist for Young, his hometown club happened to be interested as well.

In a sport where it used to be very common for former major-league players to become GMs, Young is now one of only two former major-leaguers currently serving as a general manager. (The Athletics’ Billy Beane and the White Sox’s Kenny Williams, two other former big-leaguers, serve as presidents of baseball operations for their respective clubs.)

The 41-year-old Young, who is almost certainly the tallest GM in MLB history at 6-foot-10, began his major-league career with the Rangers in 2004 and also pitched for the Padres, Mets, Mariners, and Rangers over 13 seasons. A Princeton grad who also starred for the Tigers basketball team and was offered an NBA contract by the Sacramento Kings, Young went on to have a rather prolific MLB career, posting a 3.95 career ERA, making the NL All-Star team with the Padres in 2007, winning the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award with the Mariners in 2014 after becoming one of the only pitchers ever to have a successful return from thoracic outlet surgery, and playing a heroic role with the 2015 world champion Royals.

After a bid to make the Padres’ roster as a non-roster invitee fell short in spring 2017, Young retired and joined the comissioner’s office in May 2018. He had a meteoric rise through the league office and spent the 2020 season overseeing umpires and serving as the chief disciplinarian for fines and suspensions.