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Tom Hicks: Wait Till Next Year … Or The Next ... Or The Next ...

Jon Daniels and Tom Hicks: a match made somewhere just south of baseball heaven
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In extending general manager Jon Daniels’ contract through the 2009 season, Your Texas Rangers finally have something they haven’t had this millennium -- a plan. Didn’t say it was a good plan, but it’s a plan.

You could certainly question why a GM with such a shitty résumé deserves an extension. And you could certainly question why he only got a year’s extension instead of, like, five. But you can’t question the team at least has a blueprint. And it reads like this: Be patient.

“We’ve kept our draft picks since ’03, and we’re building something as far as our depth in our farm system,’’ owner Tom Hicks said yesterday at the team’s swank new Dallas store across from The Crescent. “This is an approval of Jon’s plan and long-term stability. If he continues to do a good job, he’ll get more extensions.”

OK, but let’s look at Daniels’ past and present before we get all giddy about his future.

This season is kaput after 70 games. Texas is a league-worst 26-44 with no improvement in sight.

“We haven’t had the success we anticipated, and I shoulder the blame for that,” said Daniels, who, unlike predecessor John Hart, is at least a stand-up guy. But with a crappy present, how’s that past looking?

I see four major blemishes: trading away Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka; Alfonso Soriano for Brad Wilerson; Francisco Cordero and Kevin Mench for Nelson Cruz and Carlos Lee; and John Danks for Brandon McCarthy. In the biggest deals he’s made, that's 0 for 4.

He also hired manager Ron Washington, which looks pretty iffy in the wake of yet another loss Tuesday night. But what does that get you? A one-year, $650,000 extension.

“The trade deadline is approaching, and I wanted to get in front of that,” Hicks explained. “We’ve got five or six weeks left to turn it around. If not, some of our veterans will be traded with the future in mind, and I wanted the questions about Jon’s security to be off the table.”

Barring a 20-game winning streak, deals will be made before the July 31 trading deadline. Otsuka, Eric Gagne, Kenny Lofton, Sammy Sosa and even Mark Teixeira are on the block.

“Our fans are smart,” Hicks said. “They’re not afraid to take one step back to improve down the road.”

With the talent in the farm system two summers from maturation, we’re looking at 2009. Before then we can be certain of only three things: The Rangers will suck. Deals will be made. And Jon Daniels will make them. --Richie Whitt

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