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October 04, 2005

GM John Hart Resigns

Texas announced that General Manager John Hart has resigned. Jon Daniels has been promoted from assistant GM to GM.

Hart remains with the organization with the title of “senior advisor/baseball operations,� but that may be a position without portfolio, a face-saving maneuver. Originally, he intended to leave after three years with Grady Fuson taking his place. During his ostensible final year when the Rangers held the division lead into July, he decided to stay (with Hicks’s approval), leaving Fuson a lame duck after 32 months of a 36-month apprenticeship.

Hart leaves without much success. The Rangers had one winning season and a record of 311-337 during his four-year tenure, never made the playoffs and never finished higher than third place in a four-team division.

I don’t have the energy to catalogue Hart’s entire career with Texas, but here’s a look at his acquisitions during his first five months in office, November 2001-March 2002:

Chan Ho Park (5 years, $65 million)
Jay Powell (3 years, $9 million)
Todd Van Poppel (3 years, $7 million)
Juan Gonzalez (2 years, $24 million)
Carl Everett (via trade, 2 years, $17.8 million)
Ismael Valdez (1 years, $2.5 million)
John Rocker (via trade, 1 year, $2.5 million)
Dave Burba (1 year, $2 million, released that July)
Herbert Perry (via trade, 1 year, $900,000)
Hideki Irabu (1 year, $550,000)
Dan Miceli (1 year, $1 million, released that May)
Rudy Seanez (1 year, $1 million)
Rich Rodriguez (via trade, 1 year $600,000)
Steve Woodward (1 year, $550,000)

Valdez pitched well, Perry had a career year filling in for the not-ready-for-prime-time Hank Blalock, Powell had his moments (in 2002, at least), and Everett hit well enough in 2003 to get a nice return via trade. The rest were a miasma of fleeting quasi-effectiveness, injuries, and despair.

If someone ever brings up the tired argument that Texas couldn’t afford any free agents because of Alex Rodriguez’s giant contract, the list above is your rejoinder. Texas acquired all these players the year after signing Rodriguez. It was this collection of contracts, not Rodriguez, that soured Texas on the free-agent process. Since 2002, I can find only one multi-year free-agent acquisition from another team, Kenny Rogers’s two-year deal for 2004-2005.

The 28-year-old Daniels becomes the youngest GM in MLB history.

Posted by Lucas at October 4, 2005 11:45 PM