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Rangers agree to extension with GM Daniels

Rangers agree to extension with GM Daniels

Rangers agree to extension with GM Daniels
PHOENIX -- The Texas Rangers have an identity.

They are vocal proponents of continuity and stability. The reigning American League champions believe in player development, establishing a winning organization, and maintaining it.

They believe in the "Rangers' Way."

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They also trust that general manager Jon Daniels is the perfect man for the job today and for the next five years.

On Friday, the club showed its faith in Daniels, agreeing to a four-year contract extension with him through 2015. Rangers team president Nolan Ryan made the announcement after meeting with ownership partners in Arizona. An extension for assistant general manager Thad Levine is in the works, and the club is also discussing extending other baseball personnel to maintain the continuity in the organization, Ryan said.

"I think what [Daniels] does best, he's best at assembling the best team he can have around him, in the form of scouts, advisors and development people," Ryan said. "Then, once he puts people in place, he puts a lot of confidence [in them] and believes in their abilities. That's a trait that I like in people and management: You surround yourself with as good of people as you possibly can and have confidence in them and let them do their jobs."

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Daniels acknowledged being one of the faces of the franchise, but also gave credit to his coaching staff, front-office personnel and the baseball development department. He said the contract was a culmination of all of their hard work.

"This is a symbol that ownership is pleased with the direction and work that has been put in from a lot of people," Daniels said. "My family and I love being in Texas, and we are thrilled to stay here and build something really special."

Daniels, who joined the Texas organization in 2002 as a baseball operations assistant, became the eighth general manager in club history when he was named to the position on Oct. 4, 2005. He was 28 years old at the time, making him the youngest general manager in Major League Baseball history.

He's grown into the job. He's also excelled at it.

The Rangers are one of just four clubs, and the only American League team, to feature increased win totals in each of the last three years with two second-place finishes in 2008 and 2009 before the AL championship last season.

"I'm a big league manager because of Jon Daniels," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He believed in me and I believe in him. Him getting that security and continuing to guide this organization in the direction we are going in is huge. It was just a matter of time and it could not happen to a better man."

Daniels' work has also been recognized by those outside of the organization. Last winter, he was selected as Baseball America's 2010 Major League Executive of the Year, making him just the second Rangers executive to win the award after Doug Melvin in 1998.

"Obviously, it has come at a pace that I didn't expect, probably a pace unusual to this game, and I've been fortunate to be at the right place at the right time and be around the right people," Daniels said. "No doubt that early on in our group's tenure, I tried to step on the gas before the club was ready to. Some things worked and some didn't. ... It did take a lot of work, but we have a foundation and a process that we are really comfortable with."

It's been quite a few months for Daniels. After the World Series trip, the offseason didn't go as smoothly. The general manager had to deal with Michael Young's trade request in the weeks before Spring Training.

Daniels was the one who asked Young to move from third base to designated hitter so that the Rangers could sign Adrian Beltre as a free agent. Young initially agreed to the switch at the beginning of the new year, and the Beltre signing was announced on Jan 5.

The Rangers tried, but couldn't work out a deal to move Young. He reported to camp on time and has not said anything further about the trade request.

Expect Daniels to stay busy. The club could explore the idea of long-term extensions with a group of players that includes C.J. Wilson, Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz before Spring Training ends. And the First-Year Player Draft in June is only a few months away.

"The challenge is to keep the pipeline full and make sure there's the next wave of players coming and that's constant," Daniels said. "The difference is at the big league level, it's not a tryout, so to speak. Guys are expected to come in and help us win."

There is still work to be done.

"People ask me, 'What's harder? Winning or repeating?' And we've only done one and we haven't done it to the full extent we wanted to," he said.

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. T.R. Sullivan contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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