Jon Daniels: Production trumps pedigree (usually)

David Brown
Big League Stew

PHOENIX — At the Cactus League media event Monday at Chase Field, I asked Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels what difference it made that recent acquisitions such as Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzysnski had played for winning World Series teams. A belief exists that players who have rings bring a certain intangible value that others do not.

The question seemed particularly pertinent to the Rangers, considering their trips to the World Series in 2010 and 2011, and a playoff berth a season ago, netted zero championships. But does it really matter to the Texas Rangers in 2013 that the Cardinals won a World Series two years ago, or the White Sox seven? Or is it just something that couldn't hurt?

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"I think I’m more of the latter," Daniels said. "There’s some things that we [within the organization] always talk about. 'This guy's got a winning pedigree.' I just gave an answer a minute ago about Pierzynski. And with the draft, we talk about a player's bloodlines. 'Oh, he's got great bloodlines; his dad played.' Does it matter or not?

"I appreciate a guy who knows what it takes. There’s a level of respect that comes with accomplishment in the game. But there’s also that expectation of doing it here and now. You’ve got to be a productive player to carry the full weight of what your words could carry."

Daniels told a story about Sandy Alomar, who won a World Series with the Marlins in 1997, coming to the Rangers as a backup catcher in 2004 or '05.

Daniels said he couldn't remember what the issue was in the clubhouse, but he did remember going up to Alomar and asking him why he wasn't stepping in and fixing it. Why wasn't he using his leadership and World Series experience to make the problem go away?

"And he said, ‘Hey man, I’m a backup catcher,’ " Daniels said.

Leadership means a heck of a lot more when you're able to produce on the field.

[Baseball 2013 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

This sparked a memory of Michael Young in Daniels. Young often is cited as a player who has intangible leadership qualities — something similar to this "World Series effect" that Berkman and Pierzynski might or might not bring. Daniels didn't want to tread on Young's legacy.

"That’s not to say that, with the Cardinals last year, Berkman wasn’t a big influence on the club," Daniels said. "He only played 30 games. It is possible to do. I think Michael had a big influence on our club last year but had a down year offensively. It’s not a hard and fast rule. But in general you do have to be productive to carry that weight in the clubhouse."

And you'll notice that Young is no longer on the Rangers roster. He was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies earlier in the offseason.

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