Daniels reorganizing after Levine's departure

Multiple internal candidates could combine to take over former assistant GM's role

Daniels reorganizing after Levine's departure

ARLINGTON -- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels is busy balancing his work between building a team for 2017 and reorganizing his front office after the departure of assistant general manager Thad Levine.

Levine had been Daniels' most trusted adviser before leaving last week to become general manager of the Twins. It's a significant loss for the Rangers and especially personal for Daniels, who hired Levine almost immediately after becoming general manager in 2005.

"Everyone that has worked for him the past 11 years is better for it," Daniels said. "He has been an enormous part of our team over the years and the success we have had over the years. He is a uniquely gifted baseball executive and an even better person."

Levine was involved in every aspect of the front office, including player acquisitions, roster management, contract negotiations, statistical and financial analysis and player development. He also took over international scouting two years ago when A.J. Preller left to become the Padres' general manager.

Levine's versatile talents were perhaps most evident in 2010-11, when he worked behind the scenes to help pitchers Alexi Ogando and Omar Beltre get out of their legal difficulties in the Dominican Republic and end their indefinite suspension for being unwittingly involved in human trafficking.

Levine on acquiring new talent

Daniels is considering different ways to put together his front office to make up for Levine's absence.

"Part of what we worked so hard on is to have additional people here," Daniels said. "Just as you have wave of players, we have a wave of talented scouts, coaches, and executives. We are in the process of evaluating a variety of setups. We'll consider adding talent from outside, but as our philosophy and practice, we are going to take a real hard look internally first."

Daniels has shown a strong propensity toward promoting from within since becoming general manager. Mike Daly and Rafic Saab joined the Rangers in 2006 in low-level scouting positions. Now Daly is the farm director and Saab is director of international scouting. Kip Fagg, who began with the Rangers as a scout in 1992, is now their amateur scouting director.

"I don't know if there will be a direct replacement or promotion of one person to take on Thad's role," Daniels said. "It might be a reorganization where multiple people here internally have the opportunity to make a bigger impact."

Daly, Fagg, professional scouting director Josh Boyd and baseball operations director Matt Vinnola currently make up Daniels' inner circle, but his cadre of advisors extends far beyond that.

The Rangers' organization is perceived to be one that leans toward analytics, and Daniels has built up that area under director Todd Slavinsky and analyst Ryan Murray. But Daniels and Boyd have assembled a deep roster of professional scouts that they rely on heavily in trades and free agency.

The Rangers employed 11 professional scouts last season, not including their three international scouts and 24 amateur scouts. Daniels also relies on former Rangers Michael Young, Darren Oliver and Ivan Rodriguez as special assistants, and their roles are far more than ceremonial. It's common for the Rangers to have six different scouts watching a player -- such as Jonathan Lucroy or Carlos Beltran -- they are considering in trade discussions.

"We've all been together for a long time," Daniels said. "There are existing relationships, there's trust, communication. There's an opportunity to maybe move some responsibilities around and utilize strengths in different spots, involve a bigger group in the decision-making process. It's not just with Thad leaving, but other priorities we want to address."

Another internal candidate for promition could be Jayce Tingler, who spent the past two seasons as the Rangers' Major League field coordinator. Originally hired as a hitting coach in the Dominican Republic in 2007, he has since risen through the player development ranks to join manager Jeff Banister's staff in '15. Ian Desmond gave Tingler much credit for his successful transition to the outfield.

This week, Tingler was with Daniels and others at the General Manager Meetings in Arizona, perhaps signaling that he could join the front office.

"He has a lot of attributes," Daniels said. "He gets people first and foremost with his ability to relate to people from a variety of backgrounds. He's smart. He's hardworking, communicates and knows the game. We've been able to utilize his strengths at different levels."

The Rangers are expecting to have their front office set before the Winter Meetings next month.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.