ARLINGTON, Texas —
It’s another homecoming for Highland Park’s Chris Young as the former Rangers pitcher got introduced as his hometown team’s new executive vice president and general manager on Monday.
"This a very special day for me and my family. As a Dallas native, I grew up cheering for the Rangers. As a young pitcher I made my major league debut here in Arlington in a Rangers uniform,” Young said during a webinar in which he was introduced in his new role.
"This opportunity is something that really I felt like was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in my hometown for a team and franchise that I loved and it just tugged at my heartstrings that I needed to be here," he explained. "It felt like the right fit and ultimately is the reason why I am here.”
After starring at Highland Park High School in baseball and basketball, Young went on to do the same at Princeton before pitching 13 seasons in the major leagues.
Young made his big league debut with Texas in 2004. He was traded to the Padres and eventually pitched for the Mets, Mariners and was part of the Royals World Series winning team in 2015.
Young has spent the last two years working in the MLB Commissioner’s office, and said the decision to leave was somewhat agonizing, but this situation was too good to pass up.
"Sometimes you do not control the timing of your opportunities,” Young said. "And when JD and Ray reached out with this, ready or not, I’m here and I’m excited, and I know that I’m going to fully commit myself and my family to helping this franchise win a championship."
Jon Daniels, who had been the Rangers general manager for the past 15 years, will retain final say-so, keeping his job as President of Baseball Operations.
Daniels and Young will work in concert to try and steer the Rangers in the right direction after they’ve suffered through four straight losing seasons.
"I embrace being the old guy now. I’ve never been the old guy before,” said Daniels. "We complement each other well in the experiences that we bring. And I think those complementary experiences and skills will benefit the organization.”
The move to acquire Young stemmed from an offseason talk between Daniels and Rangers Managing Partner Ray Davis.
"I don’t think anybody is as frustrated as of this year as JD and I. That’s one of the main reasons we’re privileged enough to have Chris here,” said Davis.
Young is now one of just two former major league players who serve as general managers, with the Mariners Jerry Dipoto being the other.
In a league with a seemingly ever-increasing reliance on analytics, this Princeton-educated major league veteran who has become renowned for his people skills seems uniquely qualified for a position that will be trying and all-consuming.
He’ll have to learn on the go, saying there is one underlying principle in it all.
"It’s about the people. This is a game of human beings. It’s about maximizing the potential of people and finding ways to get the best out of individuals," he explained. "For me, that’s the most important component of this. I felt it as a player, I’ve lived it. And I think that if we can start there, we’ll be in a good spot."