Grading Jerry, Mark, Jon, & Joe
During these times of lull in Texas sports, aptly known as non-football season, The Ledger takes a look at the state of each general manager position of the four major sports franchises in the D/FW metroplex, and ranks them accordingly from best to worst.
(1) The Best: Jon Daniels
The Ivy Leaguer statistician is no longer just a smart guy on the rise in the Texas Ranger front office.
He is the guy.
If there was a ‘Top 25 MLB GM Ranking’, Daniels would easily crack the top five.
Hired as an assistant at 28-years old, Daniels’ business mettle helped him sky-rocket to the top of the Texas Ranger brass.
Proving he is not a one-man show looking to steal the spotlight and use his opportunities at Texas as a stepping stone, JD surrounded himself with Texas-sized giants in Nolan Ryan & Jim Sundberg, hunkering down and burning the midnight oil with like-minded businessmen to see this gig all the way through.
Smart, savvy, and cool under pressure, Daniels quietly built one of the best major league farm systems in all of baseball during a time when the organization back pedaled into bankruptcy.
For the first time in the franchise’s 47-year history, the Rangers were selected as the ’2012 Topps Organization of the Year’ for outstanding performance, depth, and talent throughout its major and minor league teams. A true testament to Daniels’ work as general manager.
As opposed to Jerry Jones & Mark Cuban, Daniels wavered on over-spending for the sake of making headlines. Instead, trusting his instincts in economics and business management to make well thought out decisions during critical free-agent moments, ensuring success over the long haul.
Over the past two years, he allowed C.J. Wilson, Josh Hamilton, & Mike Napoli to walk away when rival teams were willing to spend more than what they were worth. Not necessarily moves fans enjoyed watching, but definitely for the betterment of the club as Daniels chose to dip into his rich minor league pool of players to showcase their talents at a fraction of the cost.
Although not against spending cash (see Adrian Beltre & Yu Darvish), Daniels has dedicated his efforts towards continuing the success and longevity of the team’s recent back-to-back world series appearances and current three-year playoff run.
Jon Daniels is by far the cream of the crop among professional sports general managers in Dallas/Fort Worth.
(2) The Brightest: Joe Nieuwendyk
Regardless of the skins on his wall, rarely does a former player make for a good general manager. (See Michael Jordan, Isaiah Thomas, Matt Millen et al)
Nieuwendyk is the exception.
The former Star’s trophy case includes three Stanley Cups, the Conn Smythe Trophy as the 1999 Stanley Cup Playoffs MVP playing for Dallas, the Calder Trophy for rookie-of-the-year in Calgary, and an Olympic gold for Canada at the 2002 Winter Games.
Nieuwendyk’s most impressive mantle piece however is his current construction of a vibrant hockey club as the Dallas Stars GM.
In a period when the NHL is clearly the worst run professional sports league (2 owner lockouts in 9 years), Nieuwendyk found a way to steer the franchise through a rocky ownership change and still managed to piece together a young talented group of skaters.
He is truly a ‘players GM’, understanding the intricacies of the game while managing to balance the business side of the house.
Nieuwendyk’s administration also includes restructuring the club’s minor-league affiliates Texas Stars, Iowa Steelheads and Allen Americans, re-establishing a pipeline of prospects to funnel into American Airlines Center.
Planting and growing young studs Brenden Dillon, Jordie Benn, Cody Eakin, and Reilly Smith, injected exciting new blood into an aging Dallas team. Head coach Glen Gulutzan also worked his way through the Dallas Stars minor league system.
Joe Nieuwendyk’s successful veteran transactions (Jagr, Ryder, Whitney) has blended well with the talented youth movement occurring in Dallas.
Joe Nieuwendyk has positioned the Stars into making a sustained run for the Stanley Cup in the near future and years to come.
(3) The Prideful: Jerry Jones
Failed Roman emperor Commodus referred and styled himself after the great Hercules.
Jerry Jones refers to himself as a competent NFL general manager.
Either was neither.
I agree that Jones is a competent successful businessman. Look at what he’s done with the business side of the team. He turned a $140 million dollar investment into a $2 billion dollar cash cow.
Within that time of turning a mega-profit, Jones managed to capture three titles within the first seven years. A storming climb to the top even the Romans would be proud of.
However, like the fall of the Roman Empire, Jones was unprepared for the onslaught of power and fame that came with conquering the football world. Whether out of spite, fear, or both, he managed to sever the heads of all those closest to him, ruining what could have been a string of championships that rivaled the New York Yankees.
Instead of regrouping and hiring trusted qualified football minds, Jones chose to take the world on by himself, watching his once great legacy fall just as the Romans watched their empire crumble.
Since the fall of Jerry’s Evil Empire seventeen years ago, his Cowboys have just two playoff victories to their credit along with nine non-winning record seasons. Jones continues to make blundering free-agent moves and draft poorly for the future. Even calling a legendary warhorse (Parcells) out of retirement to ‘assist’ with personnel moves didn’t bring much luck.
Jones sheepishly takes credit for the occasional roster move that does work out, and crudely terminates anyone in a 50-foot radius for his many failed transactions.
With Jerry Jones calling all the shots as GM, it has become a feeding frenzy for the barbarian hordes around the NFL to plunder and pillage what is left of a once proud empire.
(4) The Frugal: Mark Cuban
Is it billionaire owner Mark Cuban, or Cuban’s token GM Donnie Nelson running this team into the ground?
My money is on the dude with the cash, or should we say, the dude who wants us to think he has the cash?
Mark Cuban shamelessly treats this franchise like one of his internet stocks. High risk high reward. Low risk no bueno. If a stock rises, sell it while it’s hot and bank your earnings. Once the smoke clears, buy on the cheap and pray to Wall Street one of your penny stocks hits it big.
Two years ago the Mavs were the hottest stock in the country, taking down LeBron’s Miami Heat in six games. Today, the roster looks like a bunch of discarded pink sheets left over from a bad day at the stock market.
Dallas fans have been waiting on Cuban for two years now to make that big splash he sold to the masses after dismantling their championship team.
From the looks of it, we’ll be waiting longer than expected.
The Ledger has an outlandish theory of why high-priced NBA free agents and respected general managers are steering clear of Dallas: Cuban’s vocal demeanor and harsh criticism towards the league burned one too many bridges amongst the NBA fraternity of multi-millionaires.
He has no friends left. When you have no friends, you have no support. No support translates to no success.
Mark Cuban forgot rule #1: “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer”
Even the social network is abuzz as Maverick fans and NBA purists are befuddled, constantly commenting on Cuban’s recent abnormal inactivity. Is he broke?
Maybe not billionaire broke, but Cuban surely isn’t spending the bucks as he tucks away his wallet. His recent salary recession is something Dallas fans are not accustomed to and aren’t willing to accept.
His free-spending loving nature for his basketball team has taken a back seat to his low-level HDTV cable network, AXS T. The only investing Cuban has done over the past year is his “shark investing”on the television series Shark Tank.
In the mean time, Mavericks fans are forced to weather a brutal storm of mediocrity after standing atop the highest NBA mountain peak just a short two years ago.
It appears shouldering a hefty luxury tax was too much for a billionaire to handle.
At least we’ll get to see some interesting beards for the rest of the season.
Posted on February 20, 2013, in Dallas Sports and tagged Best GM In Dallas, D/FW Sports General Managers, Jerry Jone Evil Empire, Jerry Jones, Joe Nieuwendyk, Jon Daniels, Mark Cuban, Worst GM In Dallas. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.