Patrick Sullivan at Baseball Analysts and Rob Neyer over at ESPN (who comments on Sullivan's article) each talk about the Rangers' situation and Jon Daniels today...
Sullivan has the lengthier analysis looking at where the Rangers are now and where they are heading, taking Daniels to task for awful deals but also acknowledging that the organization appears to be heading the right direction:
With an unexpectedly large bounce in their pitching performance in 2009, the Rangers may have an outside shot at competing in a weak division this season. But in all likelihood this will be a lost season. If Nolan Ryan can hang in there with Daniels, see how his youngsters perform in 2009, monitor his trade decisions and trust he has learned from past mistakes, it may turn out that he would be best served standing up to external pressures to let Daniels go.
From an outsider's perspective, Daniels deserves at least another year or two at the helm. After all, he's had the job for only three years, and three years really isn't a long time (he's probably not as lousy at trading as he's looked, nor as good at developing young players as he's looked). I do worry that Nolan Ryan will have little patience if the pitching problems continue (though it's not clear how much influence Ryan really has). I also worry that the pitching problems will continue for as long as the Rangers play half their games in a ballpark that seems to take so much out of their pitchers.
I do share Neyer's belief that another awful performance from the pitching staff in 2009 could result in Ryan cleaning house (except for Mike Maddux, Ryan's hire as pitching coach).
But the Sullivan and Neyer pieces are both pretty even-handed looks at what has happened here. And despite what Sullivan says, I personally don't think there is a ton of outside pressure on Ryan to fire the g.m. Yeah, Randy Galloway and his distaff sidekick are going to beat that drum, but is there really a widespread demand to fire Daniels?
I will say that there appears to be a good amount of apathy about the team that has settled over the fan base, which is, I believe, driven by the fact that the team is in danger of having its 9th losing season in 10 years in 2009. There's pressure on everyone in the organization to put out a winner. But I don't think that there's a lot of pressure on Ryan, Hicks or anyone else to make big structural changes in what the team is doing as of right now.