Levine named Rangers assistant GM

Levine named Rangers assistant GM

The Rangers filled their assistant general manager vacancy on Wednesday by hiring 33-year-old Thad Levine, who spent six seasons working for the Colorado Rockies.

The opening came about when Jon Daniels was recently promoted from assistant GM to general manager. Daniels and Levine worked together at one juncture in the Colorado organization.

"Thad brings a great deal of experience and professionalism to the Texas Rangers," Daniels said. "He will be a source of creativity and ideas now and in the future. I am excited about someone with his knowledge and skills joining our baseball operations staff."

Levine will take over many of the day-to-day duties that Daniels handled as the right-hand man for former GM John Hart. Daniels will now have more time to focus on the direction of the franchise.

Levine worked under Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd and has experience in areas such as contract negotiations, agent liasons and relationships with Major League Baseball officials. He will be involved in roster management and payroll on the administrative side and also work in conjunction with the pro scouting staff and the amateur draft.

Levine was the Rockies' senior director of baseball operations in 2005 and director of baseball administration from 2002-04.

With the selection of Levine, who played baseball at Haverford College and earned an MBA at UCLA before joining the Rockies, Daniels said he doesn't anticipate any more front office changes in the immediate future.

The Rangers, however, might have to make a coaching staff adjustment or two before turning full attention to the makeup of the 2006 ballclub. Daniels said the club has granted permission for first base coach DeMarlo Hale to interview with the Red Sox for a third base coaching job. That interview is supposed to take place in the next day or two.

"DeMarlo's aspiration is to be a Major League manager," Daniels said. "If this helps him get there, we felt it was important to give him the opportunity. I hope he stays, but my gut says he's going to wind up in Boston. That would be a significant loss."

If the Rangers have to fill an opening for first base coach, Daniels said the preference would be to promote from within the organization. Triple-A manager Bobby Jones could be one of the candidates.

The Rangers have short-circuited any possibility that bullpen coach Mark Connor would leave by signing Connor to an extension. The Atlanta Braves had asked permission to speak with Connor in the event that pitching coach Leo Mazzone left for another job.

"I talked to Mark and he agreed to stay on here," Daniels said. "He's one of the keys for me as far as continuing to develop our young pitching."

Connor could be in line to move from bullpen coach to pitching coach if Orel Hershiser were to give up that position. Various reports have included Hershiser as one of the candidates the Dodgers might want to interview for their managing position. But Daniels said that as of Wednesday evening, the Dodgers had not yet asked Texas for permission to speak with Hershiser.

"If they do ask permission, we would grant it," Daniels said, emphasizing the Rangers would not want to stand in the way of a career advancement for Hershiser.

Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.