Daniels, Levine receive contract extensions

Rangers front-office execs will remain in Arlington through 2018 under new deals

Daniels, Levine receive contract extensions

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are trying to bring some stability to their organization as they close out a tumultuous year, and the organization has announced extensions for president of baseball operations and general manager Jon Daniels and assistant GM Thad Levine.

According to sources, the new deal keeps both under contract with the Rangers through 2018.

Daniels, who was promoted on Oct. 4, 2005, is entering his 10th season as general manager. He added the title of president of baseball operations two years ago. After being promoted to general manager, one of his first moves was to hire Levine as his assistant.

"I feel very appreciative of the support from ownership and the continued support of our whole group," Daniels said. "The announcement is about Thad and myself, but it's also about the whole baseball operations group and the desire to keep that team together and put the best personnel on the field. It's a tremendous statement by ownership to keep that group together. A lot of people will be impacted by this."

Levine and A.J. Preller had been Daniels' two closest advisors during his tenure as general manager. Preller left the club late last season to become the Padres' general manager. Levine has been involved in just about every area of baseball operations, from scouting to personnel decisions to player contracts.

"Getting our baseball leadership secured for the foreseeable future was a top priority this offseason and very important for the continuity of the organization," said Rangers co-chairmen Ray Davis and Bob Simpson in the release. "Under Jon's and Thad's leadership, the Rangers have created a strong overall organization that has combined Major League success with a productive scouting and player development operation over a number of years. Jon and Thad are skilled executives who are well respected around the game and completely committed to once again delivering a winning team for our fans."

Daniels is still surrounded by a strong cadre of advisors. Farm director Mike Daly and pro scouting director Josh Boyd have assumed more prominent roles within the organization, and the Rangers added former infielder Michael Young to the long list of special assistants that includes veteran Major League scouts Scott Littlefield and Greg Smith. Overall, the Rangers had a dozen people interview candidates during their recent managerial search.

Levine's responsibilities will increase, as he will oversee the Rangers' international scouting efforts, which were previously directed by Preller and Daly.

"The way A.J. and Mike Daly handled that department was exceptional," Levine said. "I'm walking into a department that is clicking on all cylinders, and it's a matter of giving guidance to guys in the field that are ready to take on leadership roles. The department will miss A.J., but continue to be productive."

The Rangers were 67-95 last season and finished in last place in the American League West. Prior that, they had four straight 90-win seasons for the first time in club history and went to the World Series in 2010 and '11 before losing to the Giants and the Cardinals, respectively.

"If you ultimately view my performance as a reflection of what transpires on the field, I'm very proud of what has happened," Daniels said. "Last season was not what we are about, and the accountability starts with myself and the decisions. Things need to be better, and they will be. But the overall body of work, I am extremely proud of what we have done and the product that we have put out on the field."

Daniels and Levine were signed through 2015. Both received three-year extensions. Simpson and Davis approached Daniels as far back as two years ago about an extension, and their commitment didn't waver despite the disappointing 2014 season in which almost everything went wrong for the Rangers at the Major League level.

"There has been a trust and a relationship factor that has been established over the past four or five years," Daniels said. "It was easy, you just want to be treated fair. I never wanted to go anywhere else. I want to work with these people and be a part of a great organization."

Levine has had a chance to interview for general manager jobs in Houston and Arizona over the past few years, but in both cases, he bowed out early in the process to remain with the Rangers, working under Daniels.

"That's a pretty high bar to get over for me to even consider it," Levine said.

Tom Grieve, who was the Rangers' general manager from 1984-94, is the only one in franchise history who has held the job longer than Daniels.

"It's pretty remarkable to think about it, our 10th year doing it," Daniels said. "It's amazing in itself ... shocking. But I don't want to get too far ahead. We've still got things to do."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.