It’s easy to forget, but at one point the Rangers had Adrian Gonzalez and Mark Teixeira in the same lineup.
Of course, not many thought that Gonzalez would develop into one of the best power hitters in the sport, but the December 2005 trade that sent him to the Padres along with Chris Young and Terrmel Sledge for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka was a natural topic of conversation as the Rangers played the Red Sox yesterday.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told Alex Speier of WEEI.com that he missed the boat on the trade.
“I know that at the time, when Mark Teixeira was here, it led to a lot of clubs making an assumption that we would trade him, that we wouldn’t be able to keep both of them. We did get some inquiries on him [prior to the San Diego trade,” said Daniels. “We didn’t obviously project him to be the superstar that he’s become. Clearly, had we known that, we would have found a way to make it work. But we thought he was going to be a good player. At a young age, he was always a guy we thought would hit. The question was how much power. He’s matured into one of the better power hitters in the game, clearly.”
His regret about the deal isn’t specifically about Gonzalez, though. Daniels, who became the youngest general manager in baseball history less than three months prior to the trade, confirmed that he miscalculated the Rangers’ chances to contend in the short-term.
“Our error in that was not so much our evaluation of Adrian,” said Daniels. “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.”
The Rangers finished the 2006 season in third place at 80-82, 13 games behind the first-place Athletics.
Daniels has had several hits and misses during his tenure as general manager, but that’s the nature of the job, really. He acquired Nelson Cruz from the Brewers before the deadline in 2006, Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus from the Braves in the Mark Teixeira deal in 2007, took a chance with Josh Hamilton before the 2008 season and stunned the baseball world with the Cliff Lee deal last season, a move which led to the franchise’s first ever World Series appearance. All in all, things have worked out pretty well.