Daniels 'optimistic' as Rangers outline plans

May 19th, 2020

ARLINGTON -- Any 2020 season cannot commence until an agreement is reached between Major League Baseball and the Players Association, but Rangers GM Jon Daniels remains optimistic that it will happen. Until then, the Rangers are waiting just like everybody else.

“I think it’s pretty clear there are two major topics that need to be addressed sufficiently,” Daniels said in a call with Texas media on Tuesday. “First, and most important, is the health and safety of everybody involved. I believe if that one can be met -- and I am hopeful that it can -- I anticipate everyone involved will figure out the second one, which is the economics and finances. I’m optimistic we will play.”

Health, Globe Life Field and Spring Training 2.0
Health protocols are paramount. The Rangers are in the process right of preparing for Major League Baseball a detailed plan of how they will handle every possibility, from emergency situations to the day-to-day conduct in the clubhouse and on the field.

Daniels expressed confidence that the Rangers will be able to handle home games. Road games will require more care and handling due to all the logistics.

“Most of the things at home are challenging because they are unusual, maybe uncomfortable, because we have all been doing things a certain way for a long period of time,” Daniels said. “You have to step out of that comfort zone. The challenge for me is going to be on the road. That creates some additional variables that we are all going to have to work through.

“It’s pretty clear it’s about reducing our risk. Everybody understands it’s not about eliminating risk. That’s not realistic. If we look at it through that lens, we can do quite a bit. But it is going to require some change in our behavior, especially on the road.”

The Rangers want to hold Spring Training 2.0 at Globe Life Field, and there are facilities across the street at the old ballpark that could be utilized. Players could take basic batting practice there, do some of their throwing programs and use the still-intact weight room.

Roster decisions
Daniels, for the regular season, is expecting a few extra active roster spots as well as a pool of players on a taxi squad. The extra players would need to consist of those able to contribute immediately if needed.

The status of non-roster players also would need to be settled. The Rangers' list of non-roster players includes prominent veterans such as pitchers , , , and . The position players include , , , and , among others.

Not all will make the Opening Day roster. Those who don’t make it could face a decision if they want to stay on the Rangers taxi squad or seek opportunities with other clubs.

“We feel we have our arms around what the decisions are,” Daniels said. “We haven’t made them yet. There is still more information to gather. But, for the most part, we feel our guys are in a pretty good spot, which should make the decisions easier.”

Ramping back up
Daniels does not foresee the Rangers playing exhibition games against other teams during a ramp-up to regular-season play, meaning players will have to earn their roster spots via intrasquad and simulated games.

“I don’t think it’s all that important, quite frankly,” Daniels said. “I think we will be able to get our guys enough live looks at each other in intrasquad or live BP or different scenarios. It falls into that category, in a live world, great, but … it is not a requirement for us.”

Daniels said the Rangers will make do with whatever schedule is agreed upon.

“I think the best teams will rise to the top,” he said. “As far as what you would like to see, I have moved past that a long time ago. This is unprecedented. There are a lot of people dealing with a lot worse things than how many games we get to play.

“We are all at a point where if we want to play, it’s going to be an unusual season, so throw everything out the window and let’s do what will benefit the most people and help the most people. You won’t hear anybody on our end complain about it.”