Dallas native Young 'thrilled' to be Texas GM
ARLINGTON -- When Rangers owner Ray Davis sat down with Jon Daniels at the end of this past season, one thing was obvious to both of them.
“When you have four years of losing seasons, it doesn’t make sense to keep doing the same thing,” Davis said.
Davis made it clear he still had confidence in Daniels as the president of baseball operations. But they both agreed it was time to add a vice president and general manager to work under Daniels and help lead the entire department.
They also had a good idea of who they wanted. Daniels has had a close relationship with Chris Young ever since he pitched for the Rangers as a rookie in 2004. Young has also developed a strong relationship with Davis while serving as senior vice president of baseball operations in the Commissioner’s Office.
All that led to Young, 41, a native of Dallas who pitched 13 seasons in the Major Leagues, being introduced as the Rangers' VP/GM on Monday morning at Globe Life Field.
“First and foremost, this is a leadership role,” Daniels said. “Obviously there is a major technical side that has to be handled, but the leadership is the single biggest piece and Chris has the type of character, values and integrity that are prerequisites to join the team in any role.
“Equally important, C.Y. is a winner. He’s uber-competitive, he has pushed himself to succeed at everything he has done in and out of the game. As we look to re-establish a championship culture, he’ll be a huge asset to all of us, adding a sense of discipline and structure as we go.”
Young takes the job less than three years after his playing career ended in 2018, when he was released by the Padres.
"The opportunity to build a championship team in my hometown is perhaps the most fulfilling accomplishment to which I can contribute,” Young said. “This all transpired much quicker than I probably anticipated. I recognize how much I have to learn, but sometimes you do not control the timing of your opportunities. And when J.D. and Ray reached out with this, ready or not, I'm here and I'm excited.”
Young was born in Dallas and pitched at Highland Park High School and Princeton University. His big league career included stops with the Rangers, Padres, Mets, Mariners and Royals. He was an 11-game winner for the Royals when they won the World Series in 2015, and he pitched three scoreless innings to get the win in a 14-inning Game 1 victory.
“I feel beyond the 2 1/2 years I’ve had in the Commissioner’s Office, I’ve had 17 years on-field preparing for this moment,” Young said. “It’s something of a unique perspective, and every step of the way, I had an open mind and a curiosity to learn, observe and study what has made successful players and franchises.”
Daniels said the Rangers considered candidates both inside and outside the organization. Assistant general managers Josh Boyd, Mike Daly and Shiraz Rehman were all interviewed.
Ultimately, Daniels said, the decision to hire Young was an easy one.
“Sometimes you know when it’s the right time, the right person and the right fit for our group, myself and the team,” Daniels said. “This is a unique opportunity to add someone with the rare blend of skills and experiences in the business who fits us culturally, who has existing relationships up and down the organization and wants to be.”
Young joins an organization that has had four straight losing seasons after winning back-to-back division titles in 2015-16. The Rangers were 22-38 this season, finishing with the worst record in the American League. That completed a long decline from '10-11, when Texas went to the only two World Series in club history.
“Immediately, just getting started, I need to familiarize myself with the organization,” Young said. “This has been a whirlwind last few weeks. Coming in from the outside, just understanding the systems, the process, the personnel, the people, there's going to be a learning curve here. I'm going to be all-in, and I'm looking forward to that, but it's going to take a little time. I think the beauty of that is I have great mentors in Jon Daniels and the existing staff to help acclimate me and help with the assimilation.”
Daniels has been the Rangers' GM since 2005, and the title of president of baseball operations was added in March 2013. There has been a trend in baseball over the past decade for organizations to split those two roles, and the Rangers considered it in '16, when assistant GM Thad Levine left to join the Twins.
Levine and A.J. Preller, who is now the Padres' GM, were Daniels’ top advisors during the World Series years. But Daniels held the dual title until both he and Davis decided it was the right time to add Young.
“It had to be right person,” Daniels said. “We have a strong group here in baseball operations, but Chris will amplify their efforts, and in time, challenge all of us.”