Thad Levine
reddit AMA - August 2014

Full 28421389 ameriquest field  home of the texas rangers
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

I am Thad Levine, Assistant General Manager of the Texas Rangers, and I have helped launch a company that uses fantasy sports to raise money for nonprofits.

Thanks for this AMA! We commonly see the big money contracts that get signed all over baseball. My question is: besides the money aspect, what else gets put into big league contracts?

You would be surprised what some players ask for in negotiations. Or put better, what some agents ask for on their player's behalf. Common things like no trade protection, bonuses for awards or reaching certain performance thresholds. What has become more prevalent is that clubs will ask players to agree to make annual charitable contributions. This is one of the things that inspired us to launch www.meaningfulwins.com, because we found so many players were passionate about giving back and rabid fantasy football players.

For the players from the Pacific Rim, you will oftentimes see requests for interpreters and massage therapists. Some of the most uncommon things that you will find in contracts - flights for family members to join the player on the road, and by far the most curious thing that I ever have seen was one player asked for an annual $250,000 allowance for his wife to spend on her equestrian expenses.

How difficult has social media made it to keep trade or signing negotiations private? Has this impacted your approach to these things?

You identified one of our biggest challenges. This has impacted us unfortunately quite negatively. Used to be that we could tell all the players involved in trades before it became public. Now, that is extremely difficult to do. Last year, Ian Kinsler found out through the media that he had been traded. We felt awful, but someone called the media literally before we were able to complete a call to Ian.

That being said, at the trade deadline, we are all on twitter, because you may be surprised how many trade discussions are inspired or refined by tweets

Hey, A few questions:
  • How does trade dialogue usually go? If possible can you give an example? (Let's say the Prince/Kinsler trade)
For example, do you approach a team and tell them that we want X player, and we are willing to give up Y player? Or does the other team hand you back a list of players they are interested in. I've always been interested in the trade dialogue but we never really hear about it (other than the leaked Houston Astros database thing a few months ago)
  • How do you approach drafts? Draft best possible player, or based on suspected need in a few years?
  • Do you think the difference between college/HS players isn't so important as it was years ago? We often hear about how college players are a lot safer but there still have been quite a few busts.

Trades tend to be unique one trade to the next. Baseball is all about talent evaluation. Everyone understands the concept of scouting two short stops. But our jobs also require us to scout each GM. So depending on which GM you are negotiating with, the discussion will go differently. In the case that you mentioned, Dave Dombrowski is extremely well respected and typically for clear at what he is prepared to do and what he is prepared not to do, so negotiations with Detroit are always very smooth.

We have always tried to draft the best player available rather than for a specific need. So much can happen in the time that it takes for a player to make it to the majors.

There have been so many studies about drafting college versus high school players. Great players have come from both. We just try to identify players with the most upside and then develop them to reach their potential.

Please will you take Josh Hamilton back?

Josh is one of the most talented players that I have been blessed to see play on a regular basis. As a Rangers' fan, it was a lot easier to root for him 2 years ago than it is now.

Thanks for doing this! What're your views on a possible salary cap in MLB?

I would be surprised if the Union ever approves a formal salary cap. There have been discussions about stiffer taxes for going over a certain threshold. There has also been a lot of talk about having a salary floor as well. In the next collective bargaining session, i am sure that this topic will be discussed exhaustively.

Thanks for this AMA! How much information do teams have access to beyond what we have as fans through sites like B-Ref, Fangraphs, and so on?

Those sites, and others, have done such a phenomenal job. I believe that is why you see so many clubs hiring their employees. Really the only thing that we have access to that they do not is an extensive database from our scouts. We use those sites extensively in our analysis.

Can you explain the challenges you, your organization, and the people that make the day to day ball club decisions had to deal with regarding Josh Hamilton during his tenure with the Texas Rangers?

Out of respect for Josh and his family, I do not want to get into too many of the details. Josh was a tremendous part of our success during our two World Series runs. We supported him as best as we could. Truth be told, a large part of his success here can be attributed to how open he was with Ron Washington and how much chemistry the two had.

Thanks for the AMA! Say you are tasked with a new expansion team, and you want to make it as competitive as possible as quickly as possible. What would you say is the most important first step you could make as a general manager?

So many people have tried to come up with a formula that separates them in their decision making. I am a firm believer that the team with the best talent evaluators will make more good decisions, so I would try to surround myself with the best talent evaluators who also happen to be good people.

How much have advanced statistics and sabermetrics been incorporated into player evaluation over your years with the Rangers and Rockies?

When the book Money Ball came out, front offices were labeled as either analytical or scouting based in their decision making. As a "younger" front office, we used to be younger than we are now, we were considered an analytical group, when in practice, we were much more scouting focused in our decision making. In the past five years, we have made significant investments in analytics both in people and systems.

Awesome AMA.. Do you think Gallo would make an immediate impact if given his cup o coffee next week? How bout those Astros!

Joey Gallo has amazing talent. The temptation is to call him up, knowing that he would likely launch some bombs up here. Our hope is that once he comes up, he will never have to go back down to the minors, so we are making sure that he has much of a foundation for success up here as possible before promoting him.

When you are backloading contracts, how often are you planning/hoping that a player will retire before those last big years?

Sadly, other than Keith Foulke, i cannot remember a situation when a player has retired or given money back. Back loading contracts is dangerous, because at some point those checks will come due and you will wish that you had the money to invest in other parts of your team.

Regarding the Rangers pretty awful season, do we look good or bad concerning future off-season trades/negotiations? Will we have opportunities in the off-season so that what happened this season wont happen next season?

The season has been a disappointment on a number of fronts. The combination of injuries this season and the fact that the past 4 seasons we had traded some of our minor league players to help our minor league team has left our system too thin to excel in 2014. Hoping that we can reduce injuries next year coupled with wave of minor league talent that we have coming should put us in a much better position next year.

What is some advice for someone in college who is interested in working in baseball for a front office?

The two skills best to develop are your analytical and communication skills. Passion for baseball is a must and any Spanish language skills are very valuable.

How tough is it losing A.J. to San Diego and will this be a major blow to our scouting department, specifically on the international level?

AJ is a good friend and has been a tremendous asset to the Rangers. He is one of the best talent evaluators i have ever known. We have great people here ready to rise to the challenge that AJ's departure has presented.

First off, thank you for taking the time to do this Mr. Levine. I've had over a week to think about my question, and I still can't figure out how to correctly word it. So here it goes. I want to be a general manager of a baseball team. The problem is I don't know how to get started preparing myself to do so. I'm a second year student at a community college working on an Associate's in Management. Is that a good start? And what advice would you have for someone in my position who wants to be where you are today? Thanks again Mr. Levine!

Keep honing your analytical and communication skills. It is very difficult getting into the game, but perseverance will pay off. Everyone working in the game fought those odds at some point in their careers. It is massively rewarding working in baseball. Remember that every time it looks bleak. Keep fighting.

How do you feel about the MLB's sabermetric and statistical revolution that has occurred over the past 15 years?

It has been tremendous. Any additional piece of information that we can use to help refine our decision making process is great for the game.

Thoughts on all the tommy john surgeries over the past couple of years in baseball?

It has been staggering. MLB doesn't take it lightly. They have commissioned a number of studies to try to assist the clubs. The scariest figure is how many high school players are getting TJ.

What is Meaningful Wins?

Meaningful Wins is a platform that allows you to play fantasy football for the nonprofit of your choice rather than just for yourself. If you win, the cause benefits as well. Believe it or not, 40 million people spend over $2 billion a year on fantasy sports. We are trying to provide a vehicle to convert some of that money into charitable donations that can make a difference. Visit www.meaningfulwins.com and participate. Everyone can help the cause.

The Rangers have had a tough time battling injuries, which to any Front Office is frustrating. Are there any steps being taken within the organization to minimize the chances of this happening to the Rangers again next year?

We plan on employing a Psychic. All joking aside, our medical staff is excellent and they are working tirelessly with our strength and conditioning staff to leave no stone unturned with regards to preventing injuries as best as we can.

Thanks for doing this Mr. Levine. Have you ever in your career experienced the type of injury situation as my beloved Rangers have this year? At what point of the season do you realize you're playing for 2015?

It was about 5 injuries ago, that we all looked at each other in the front office and said, "I have never seen anything like this." Then we proceeded to have five more injuries. All of the injuries have given a lot of our young players opportunities to cut their teeth at the Major League level. It has also given us a lot more insight as to what roles those players can play in 2015 when we expect to contend in the AL West.

What do you think will be the biggest changes/points of discussion with the next CBA? PS Never leave the Rangers Thad.

Thank you for your comment.

I believe that the next CBA will be centered around discussions about a World Wide Draft and further means to keep payrolls in check on the high end and competitive on the low end.

Do you like the model your intrastate rivals the Astros have used (completely tearing down team and sacrificing a few years to get better)?

We have been blessed to be able to rebuild without ever picking in the top 8 picks. That being said, with the new CBA, the Houston model should be very successful. I think that we are starting to see their progress, and they will only get better.

What's it like been dealing with this injury ridden season you guys are having?

It has been quite challenging. We have had to redefine what is success for the season. We have worked with Ron Washington to establish that our focus for this season is developing some of our younger now and future core players at the big league level.

How has the game changed in the past 15 years? Do you still have the same passion for the game today that you did before becoming professionally involved in it? Since it's clear that the Rangers aren't going to compete, can we get your playoff predictions? Finally, can you give us a ballpark number for how much we should expect Lester to get this off-season?

The biggest changes in the game in the last 15 years, in my opinion, is the influx of really intelligent people into front offices, the proliferation of social media, and advancements in strength and conditioning.

The beauty of working in baseball for me is that i don't think that i will ever lose my passion. I am blessed to work in baseball.

I don't see a runaway favorite in either league. Each team has some flaws. I will take Detroit over Washington.

Who was your favorite team growing up?

I grew up in Virginia. My father and I went to a lot of Baltimore Orioles games, and I was a diehard fan.

What do you think the 5 year outlook is for the Rangers? You guys have a lot of talent (Darvish, Choo, Andrus, etc) but are you looking to rebuild after this year? I'm asking cause I saw a few players clear waivers today from Texas

We expect to be very competitive again in 2015 and beyond. We have a strong nucleus at the Major League level, and we have some very talented players knocking at the door to come up.

How often do you get out to Frisco? Gallo, Alfaro, Mazara, Chi Chi, Williams, Kela its an embarrasment of riches out there. Brinson looks like he is going to be a player too.

In years like this one, you find yourself sneaking out to Frisco a little more often than usual.

What qualities do you look for when looking to acquire a player whether it be through a trade or draft or free agent signing? Do you only look into their baseball skills or does PR image and other non baseball qualities play apart in the decision?

We look for high end talent, good work ethics and great qualities as a teammate.

When you shower, do you use a bar of soap, or do you use bottled products?

Most recently, i have been using Old Spice shower gel. Very refreshing.

Hey Thad, I'm a Rangers fan at T.C. Williams What do you think about Odor's development at the big league level? Do you take him or Profar at 2B next season?

Great to hear. Good luck the rest of the way at TC Williams. Odor and Profar are both extremely talented. In addition with Sardinas and Elvis, we have what we believe to be 4 of the better middle infielders in the game. I think that there will be a lot of competition in spring training next year.

Thank you for doing this! Growing up I've watched the Rangers almost every night and followed every move hoping to be able to tell my friends about that World Series championship my team had after some really rough times in the past. I wanna say thank you for helping keep that dream alive and I think most of us understand the injuries this year aren't a GM issue. My question for you is this: how do the Rangers feel about the way Michael Young and Ian Kinsler were handled in the public eye? Those two were incredibly passionate for the Rangers and it looked like they loved this city and team, but it felt very unceremonious when both of them were traded away. Some people observe loyalty as quality in a franchise over winning. How do you balance the wins and keeping the leaders of the clubhouse around? Thank you for your time and go Rangers! Keep Mr. CHOO CHOO healthy if you can and wish all of DL favorites a perfect recovery!

I think that you have identified one of our biggest challenges. We have always aspired to have as many impact players year to year, but never aspired to have the same players. That being said, we have learned from every move that we have made and especially those two.

What charity would you chose when setting up a fantasy team on (link) What charities are you involved with?

I am an impartial participant. We are trying to redirect as much money as possible to worthy causes. We have 10 preferred nonprofits featured on the site, all are tremendous causes. Thank you for participating.

Is Dallas a baseball town? ;)

Without a doubt. The stadium is electric, especially when we are doing well.

Are you going to avoid trading with Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs in the near future?

As a function of the Cubs rebuilding and us going for it, we have made a number of trades with them that were short term decisions for us. We hope to continue to develop our own and see them succeed for the Rangers. That being said, we are extremely creative and will continue to explore all means to give us a better chance to bring a championship to the Dallas - Ft Worth metroplex

What do you believe is the Rangers single biggest organisational weakness, and how would you ideally address it?

You can never have enough pitching. We will continue to scout, draft, sign and develop as many talented pitchers as possible.

What's the best life advice you can give someone?

Identify your passion and never, ever stop pursuing it. The reward when you get to live your passion is immeasurable.

I've been a Rangers fan since 06 when I got into baseball. I bought an MLB video game, and that is what got me into baseball. What got you into baseball, and what tips can you give to someone trying to get involved in a professional sports organization? Thanks for doing this!

My father gave me a genetic gift of love of the game. He took me to games from the age of 5 all the way until I went to college. He never stopped educating me about the beauty of baseball. I owe my passion to him. I am living out this dream career for the both of us.

With the rangers season lost due mainly to injuries and lack of starting pitching, how do you approach the off season as a GM? Do you trade for/ sign big name starters or do you trust the farm and hope to call up MLB ready pitchers?

Our mantra as we approach this off season is to get back to out scouting teams rather than relying on out spending teams. We will make smart, targeted free agent acquisitions, but i would expect us to be more active on the trade and development fronts.

Have you ever eaten a Boomstick? If so, did you finish it?

Our health insurance doesn't cover complications due to boomstick consumption, so i haven't risked it yet.

How did you get your foot in the door at your first baseball job? How did you work your way up to assistant GM? Any tips for someone with similar aspirations?

I had two terrific contacts, Josh Byrnes and Paul DePodesta. I was tireless in my pursuits. And i tried to develop my communication and analytical skills as best that i could to be an asset to a front office.

In your opinion good pitching beats good hitting or vice versa?

I do think that good pitching tends to beat good hitting. That being said, in 2011, we were one pitch away from proving that good hitting can beat good pitching. It's about creating a competitive advantage.

Thank you so much for doing this AMA. I have been a Rangers fan my entire life, I'm up in Yankees territory watching every game through mlb.tv, and this front office has definitely earned my trust even through the craziness of this season. I have a couple of Rangers specific questions if you don't mind. Since opening the concourse behind home plate, the "jet stream" seems effectively dead. Does the front office believe that Globe Life Park is pitcher neutral now? With the restrictions, regulations, and penalties now in place, will the Rangers focus less on Latin America than they have in the past several years? To the (not so casual) observer, it seems that the Rangers have focused less on speed and baserunners and more on fly ball hitters. When putting together a team, do you try to stack a certain skillset, balance, or just put together the best pieces you can that year? Finally, would you mind giving some insight on anything that the general public doesn't normally hear about what Ron Washington brings to the club? Things like what you mentioned between him and Josh Hamilton today are really insightful.

Great observation. The ballpark has played neutral this year. Probably should let it play out another year or two before drawing conclusions, but the drop in power is noteworthy.

We will always explore every means of scouting great up and coming talent. Regardless the rules and restrictions, we believe in our scouts and will always pursue their recommendations.

Wash has always wanted a team capable of winning in a variety of ways, so we have tried to be as balanced as possible.

Wash is the best morale manager that i have ever seen. His ability to make every player feel as if he is going to be the player of the game is so genuine and pays dividends each and every night.

  1. Do you have significantly more information than the public sabermetricly speaking? I've heard things like you guys having ball off the bat speed, advanced complex metrics, etc.
  2. What advice do you have for me as my dream is to work in a major league front office? I'm currently going to school for mechanical engineering but I love baseball so much I'd take any spot immediately (and still graduate of course)
Thanks for the AMA!

We do have ball off the bat velocity, but i think that is becoming mainstream as well. Other than scouting reports, i would assume most sabermetric innovations coexist between front offices and the public domain.

Stay true to your passion. I went pre Med and got an English Major, so know that all educational foundations can lend themselves to success in baseball.

When yall try to convince pitchers to come to Texas, is the heat a big issue for a lot of them? I've always heard that Cliff Lee didn't want to pitch in our heat, and I feel like we've had some trouble landing some of the guys we wanted because of it.

When we started in our current roles in 2006, pitchers were reluctant to come to play here mostly because it was a hitters' park and the heat. Once we started winning, and ever since, pitchers have aggressively pursued us. Turns out playing for a winner is an amazing aphrodisiac.

Thad, thanks for doing this AMA. Big Rangers fan since before I can even remember going to games at Arlington Stadium! 2 Questions: -Since you've been at the Rangers, what do you believe is the 2nd best trade the FO has made? (Texiera deal's gotta be #1) -I'd say one of the brightest spots in this season has been watching Rougned Odor and see him develop defensive instincts, pop behind the plate, and an overall solid chemistry with this team. I'm curious how much of this was expected, versus how much was a pleasant surprise?

A few trades jump to mind. Never really have ranked them. Mench and Cordero for Carlos Lee and Nelson Cruz. Frankie Francisco for Mike Napoli. And Edinson Volquez for Josh Hamilton.

Every time that i saw Rougned play in the minors, I walked away thinking that he was the best baseball player, not always the best prospect, on the field. He is going to have a very bright future.

How did you get a job in baseball? Also, what classes should I take in high school/college to help me get a job in baseball?

I wouldn't tell you to take specific classes. I would encourage you to develop your analytical, communication and Spanish language skills.

Do you feel that MLB should adopt a hard cap, putting it alongside the other major American sports?

I do think that would level the playing field more. We do embrace the challenge of competing when the field isn't level.

Will the Rangers maintain their current presence in Latin America recruitment despite losing AJ Preller to the Padres or will they take a step back? Related, what country do you believe will be the most important country in coming years when it comes to recruitment and development of future prospects?

AJ had a huge impact in Latin America. He has developed our scouts there to succeed, and they will always have our support.

As far as up and coming countries, China and Curacao will continue to grow.

Can you call Neal Huntington and Bob Nutting of the Pittsburgh Pirates and show them how to spend money?

Hard to ever understand each organization's challenges unless you work there, but Neal has done a great job.

Is there a good relationship between your front office and Theo Epstein? These past few years we've been swapping players out the wazoo, I was just wondering if the Rangers were Theo's first call, or if it was all just a coincidence.

The Cubs were rebuilding, we were going for it, they loved our players and we are aggressive. That combo led to a number of trades. We are hoping to keep our wazoo to ourselves moving forward.

Is the steroid/PED situation in the MLB really as bad as the public perceives it to be? Or is it just a case of a few guys soiling the name of the bunch?

I think that the game has cleaned itself up considerably over the last few years. Unfortunately, the stories of the few remaining cheaters will always distort that fact.

Do you like the "blocking the home plate" rule?

I do not, More importantly, none of our catchers do either. I would expect that it will be modified this off season.

When Nolan was in town, some fans bought into a narrative about a split between the GM office and the President's office. How much, if any, of that was based in fact?

I think that was far more fiction. We valued Nolan and his advice very highly. He helped shape this franchise and played a major role in our success.

Do you think that more stoppages for reviews/challenges is good for baseball? If so, how can we speed up the game and still keep increased reviews/challenges?

I think that the goal is to get the calls correct. No on likes the stoppages. Perhaps, we could put a 2 minute time limit on reviews. If the umpires dont see anything conclusive in 2 minutes, then the play on the field stands.

What do you think of the increased number of guys who throw hard in the pen? 97+ It's crazy! Do you know of logical reasoning behind it, is it just a trend, good or bad for the game, any opinions?

It appears to tie into the Tommy John question asked earlier. Pitchers' muscles are getting stronger, they are putting more torque on their arms, but their ligaments are staying the same strength, generally unable to withstand the increased torque. Just one theory...

Can you get me a job at Rangers?

What did you have in mind?

I know that this season is a lost cause as far as making playoffs but a great way to see how some of the younger talent handles the spotlight. Do you think everyone will be completely healed (or close enough) by the start of next season to make a serious run at the World Series?

We are doing everything in our power to put the injured players in positions to be full go by the beginning of our next spring training. We hope to go into camp with as few players with restrictions as possible.

What is your reaction to how aggressive contending teams were at the trade deadline this year? Could something like the A's Lester/Cespedes deal completely set the tone for the rest of the day? Could something like the 3 team Price trade be thrown together in reaction to a blockbuster trade, or would something like that have to have been talked about for much longer?

The amount of trades made with both teams trading major league talent was quite surprising. Emphasizes how teams value prospects and how many teams are trying to win now. Can't remember the last team that a contender trading its clean up hitter for an ace. The Detroit - Tampa trade negotiations probably started a while ago, but i am sure that it picked up a good deal of steam after the Lester - Cespedes deal.

Thank you for doing this AMA! I have been a huge Rangers fan all my life. I have a couple questions: 1) Besides the lingering PED issue, what is the biggest problem that the new commissioner will face in his tenure (e.g. shortening game times, etc.) 2) Who do you think the face of the Rangers franchise is now? 3) Which player, either recently or long ago, have you looked at early in his career at and said "He's going to be a star"?

I do think that he is focused on pace of game. He will need to continue to maintain the momentum of cleaning up the game and continue to grow revenues in new and creative ways.

We have never wanted to have a face of the franchise, because good or bad, everyone's career must come to an end.

Larry Walker and Josh Hamilton are the two most talented players that i have seen play on a regular basis. As far as a young player who i thought would be a star, Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw jump to mind.

Who are you taking in the first round of your fantasy football draft?
  • the guy drafting after you
Also how did you get Maddux to signup for (link) ?

I will take Priest Holmes if he is still on the board.

Greg Maddux was one of the people who inspired us to launch www.meaningfulwins.com. Aside from being a Hall of Fame pitcher, Greg and his wife have long supported Candle Lighters - a nonprofit that helps families that have children who have cancer. In addition, Greg is a diehard fantasy football player. When we brought the idea of using fantasy sports as a vehicle to raise money for causes like Candle Lighters, he was 100% behind it.

Are you on Twitter? Why not?

I am on twitter, under an alias...

Hello Mr. Levine, nice to have you here. I have to ask, do you feel that the AL West will become a battleground soon, with the weapons that Oakland, Seattle and the Angels have, along with Houston on the upswing?

We felt that it was turning the corner to being the best division in the game last year. Have to respect each and every team in the division.

I'm an animator for feature films, but I feel eventually I would want to work in media/park entertainment in baseball. I think there are a lot of new things that can get fans involved that are being underutilized in baseball and sports in general. How does one get involved in that area of the organization?

In game entertainment has blown up in recent years. If you have an expertise and a passion, you should reach out to teams.

Which prospects in the lower levels are your favorites? Class A and below? Who do you think is potentially the best starting pitching prospect in your system? Will Feliz ever get his old fastball back, or will he have to continue to learn how to pitch at 91-94? Thank You.

We try to stay disciplined to not talk about specific prospects but rather about waves of prospects. The reality is that someone who you expect to impact the major leagues likely will not, and someone that you are not expecting to overachieve certainly will.

Feliz continues to regain arm strength, but i do not anticipate him returning to throwing 96-100 mph.

Thanks for doing this! How many of the games do you watch at the stadium versus how many you watch on TV/check scores of? Do you (or other front office execs) personally watch minor league games or do you rely mostly on scouts? How do you keep up with player and team performance or news outside of the Rangers?

Of the 81 home games, i probably see 70 live. The 11 or so that i miss is only because i am visiting one of our affiliates. In addition, i travel with the team on about 1/3 of the road games, and see approximately 30 minor league games a season.

Follow-up: NFL contracts will come across at a gross number, "Mr. Quarterback signs with Big Town Team for $300,000,000," but the guaranteed money reads more like that of a school teacher. Baseball also gives out gross contracts, but all the money (or most of the money) is guaranteed. So in the NFL, a WR can get his body bent in half the wrong way and be sent packing with no money, and in MLB a pitcher can hurt his shoulder and his bank account wouldn't know the difference. Obviously neither of these situations is ideal. The NFL doesn't have any responsibility for their players, and MLB teams are expected to risk major expenses. If the next CBA continues in this practice, ticket prices will likely explode further, alienating an already dwindling audience. So my question: where can a balance be reached where players and organizations both have responsibilities/repercussions in the event of an injury?

We would be all in favor of that. As it stands, and frankly i do not see it changing, player contracts are totally guaranteed in baseball. More and more, teams are insuring contracts as a means of mitigating their risks.

As a person in the biz, can you give Phillies fans some insight as to what in the hell Ruben Amaro Jr. is doing and why he has not been fired yet for doing it? All the best with your charity work.

I appreciate the words of encouragement.

The Phillies had such a great run. They decided to retain the core of their team that had helped them win. In the meantime, they traded their prospect depth to extend their window to win. Unfortunately, they have had to weather a lot of injuries and some aging stars while other teams in their division appear to be peaking.

Does the Ranger's front office (or really, any non-profit or other enterprise under the Ranger's umbrella) need a lawyer? Cause I'm available. What's your favorite promotion the team has done this year? My favorite is the Eric Nadel bobblehead.

We have one in-house lawyer. I believe that we also use external lawyers from time to time.

I probably should be a little more in tune with our promotions. I will have to defer to you on this one.

Does the organization (and other organizations, I guess) not have access to more data about fielding than the public does? It would seem that combining batted ball data with the initial positional and movement of players in the field would be revolutionary.

You are absolutely correct. Fielding metrics are still quite raw. As an industry, there is a race to come up with a refined fielding metric.

Hello, thank you for doing this. What would be the best way to go about getting an internship with a top level organization such as the Texas Rangers?

We have a very productive internship program. Send your resume to mklotsche@texasrangers.com (Matt).

You mentioned you use Fangraphs and Bas. Ref, do you also use the projections or do you only look at the stats?

We scour the entire sites, and several others. We are not too proud. If there is cutting edge information out there, we want to know about it.

Thad, what is the best advice you have for someone who wants to follow your career path?

Follow your passion and never give up. As you progress on your pursuit, hone your communications, analytical and Spanish language skills.

Somehow I was under the impression that MeaningfulWins.com was about fantasy football, but after reading more on the website it seems like it's for all fantasy sports? I personally haven't played fantasy baseball in years but I might give it a shot next season with this. I'll ask the moderator of /r/fantasybaseball to put a link to it on their sidebar, too. I wish you all the best with it.

Thank you so much. We are launching with fantasy football. Provided that things go as well as we expect, the product will work with baseball, basketball, hockey, nascar, heck even oscar pools.

I have a question regarding insurance on contracts. It's been reported that the Rangers will be partially reimbursed for the time that Fielder and Harrison have missed. Do you guys have insurance on all players or just the really expensive ones? Do all insurance policies cover roughly the same percentage of time lost or do they differ from player to player? Are the premiums for these policies going up every year, and with the current rash of UCL injuries do you expect it to be more expensive to insure pitchers going forward? Are there some players that insurers refuse to give a policy on? Do some policies cover some injuries but not others? For example if you signed a guy who has had shoulder problems, would his shoulder not be covered but a back problem would be?

The insurance policies and premiums vary from player to player. As you referenced, the coverage is based on the health of the player you want to insure. We do not insure all of our players, but the majority of the higher salaried players.

Thanks for the insight, I appreciate it One more question to build upon the first..
  • How do you feel about inter-divisional trades?

We always view trades based on what we are getting in return. If you have a policy of not trading within your division, keep in mind that there is nothing that prevents a team of trading the player that they just acquired from you to another team within your division

Seems as if the Rangers have always favored the high ceiling flawed player over the lower floor lower ceiling types. Any truth to that?

That is a very accurate assessment

Thank you for the response. My biggest fear is that my associate's degree will not be enough. To get an edge on the competition that will face me in the future, would it be better to spend more time working towards a higher degree, or spend more time working in the baseball operations field? Thanks again!

For this industry, secondary degrees help, but nothing replaces on the job training.

Thanks, and thanks for the reply. Looking forward to seeing who wins out next spring. Also, what programs/schools do you recommend for someone interested in working in a front office? Where is a good place to start?

Hone your communications and critical thinking skills. Never hurts to learn Spanish.

What would you say to a Rangers fan who's feeling pretty down about baseball these days? Cheer us up, please.

2015 should be very bright. Once we get our horses healthy and blend them with some of our upside prospects, we should be very competitive next season. Also, we are going to have the ability to do some serious damage on the amateur and international fronts.

Do you consider the Rangers to be in a rebuilding phase, or do you believe that they will once again be contenders when they get off the DL?

We believe that our window to win now is still wide open. Someone drew the shade this season, but the window is still open.

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