Rangers GM Jon Daniels was in his first offseason on the job five years ago, though he made what is arguably his second most memorable trade to date. In December 2005, Daniels agreed to trade Adrian Gonzalez to the Padres as part of a three-player package for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka. Gonzalez was only 23 at the time, but he had just completed his third year in Triple-A, hitting .338/.399/.561. Mark Teixeira, then 25, was coming off an All-Star season that saw him hit .301/.379/.575 with 43 homers. There didn't appear to be room for both.
Daniels spoke to WEEI.com's Alex Speier about the trade, admitting that they made the move to bolster their short-term playoff chances.
"Our error in that was not so much our evaluation of Adrian," Daniels said. "Our biggest miss in that situation was really our evaluation of our club, where we were competitively and in the division. We thought that there was a window there in ’05-’06 to really push. We won 89 games [in 2004], were a .500 club in ’05, hadn’t made too many changes. Our [front office] group came in in ’05. We probably tried to step on the gas before we were ready. Not probably – we did.”
Daniels added that other teams had inquired about Gonzalez before the trade went down, but Texas didn't project him to be the star-caliber player he's become. As funny as it sounds now, Daniels said the question then "was how much power" Adrian would provide. In the five years since the trade, only eight players have hit more homers than Gonzalez, who's been stuck in Petco Park. "Clearly, had we known [how good he'd become], we would have found a way to make it work," said Daniels.
Every GM that's been on the job long enough has horror stories. Brian Cashman traded a young Mike Lowell for three pitching prospects that contributed next to nothing at the big league level. Theo Epstein acquired an awful half-season of Eric Gagne for three young players, including David Murphy, who drove in the game-winning run against Epstein's Red Sox yesterday. Shin-Soo Choo was traded for Ben Broussard. The list goes on and on. Daniels made up for it less than two years later, when he made his best deal to date by acquiring five young players for Teixeira and Ron Mahay. That deal netted closer Neftali Feliz, shortstop Elvis Andrus, starting pitcher Matt Harrison, and catcher turned trade chip Jarrod Saltalamacchia. No one can win them all, but you'd like the losses to not include a player of Gonzalez's caliber.