GM Initiation: Jon Daniels

Jon Daniels was announced as the new general manager of the Rangers on October 4th, 2005.  At 28, he was the youngest GM in Major League history. 

In mid-November of '05, Daniels struck his first deal.  He and Cubs GM Jim Hendry agreed on a trade that would send righty Jon Leicester to Texas for a player to be named later.  Minor league pitcher Clint Brannon was sent to the Cubs as the PTBNL in March.  Daniels was kind enough to answer a few questions about his first trade.

MLB Trade Rumors: How long did you have your eye on Leicester before making the deal?  He was coming off a rough year in Iowa; what did you see in him?  As one of the Cubs' better prospects heading prior to the '05 season, were you surprised they'd part with him for a player to be named later or cash?

Jon Daniels: He was an out of options reliever – a guy we'd had good reports on in the past, had recently gotten over an injury I believe.  We looked at him as a nice buy low opportunity, with a chance to pay dividends if it clicked.  The Cubs didn’t have a spot for him – some clubs hold their out of options guys as long as possible – others recognize he's not part of their plans and move quicker, that's what happened here.

MLBTR: The Cubs ended up getting Brannon in March to complete the deal, but got only 7.3 A ball innings out of him.  Did any of the other choices on the Cubs' list of possibilities end up playing in the Majors?

Daniels: I don't think there were other names, actually.  Brannon was the only guy we discussed.  He'd had some low level success the year before – might have actually set the Northwest League ERA record if I recall – but didn't do well in Chicago.  That's OK – Leicester hurt himself in some odd off-field deal and didn't really pan out here – no one made out in this one.

MLBTR: Does the Leicester trade hold significance for you as your first deal, or was it overshadowed by the bigger trades that soon followed?

Daniels: Not a lot of significance other than the fact I get to say I traded for Jon "Lester" before people realize it’s the one spelled "Leicester."

MLBTR: What kind of relationship did you have with Jim Hendry prior to the Leicester trade?

Daniels: I knew Jim some from his dealings with John Hart when I worked for John.  We'd spent some time together at GM and Winter Meetings before, but we didn't have a lot of history together.  We've worked together a couple of times since.

MLBTR: At just 28 years old, what kind of reception did you get from other GMs after you got the job?

Daniels: Respectful and positive for the most part.  My age was a novelty for the first while, but more with media and fans than with counterparts around the league, at least outwardly. 

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2 Comments on "GM Initiation: Jon Daniels"

East Coast Bias
5 years 4 months ago

I’m 28! I think I would make a great GM… my fantasy teams always rock!!

5 years 4 months ago

It’s amazing to think that Tim has gone from a boutique website hobbyist, to a guy who can interview MLB GM’s.

Very much enjoying the new series.