Rays hire Jon Daniels as Senior Advisor, name three Assistant General Managers

The Tampa Bay Rays have hired Jon Daniels as Senior Advisor, Baseball Operations. In this role, his focus will be supporting baseball ops senior leadership while utilizing his extensive experience in the industry to help further inform decision-making.

In addition, the Rays have made several promotions and title changes within their Baseball Operations department:

  • Will Cousins ​​- Vice President, Assistant General Manager (Former: VP, Baseball Development)
  • Chanda Lawdermilk – Vice President, Assistant General Manager (Former: VP, Baseball Operations)
  • Carlos Rodriguez – Vice President, Assistant General Manager (Former: VP, Baseball Operations)
  • Kevin Ibach – Vice President, Player Personnel (Former: Senior Director, Pro Personnel & Pro Scouting)
  • Brian Plexico – Vice President, Baseball Systems (Former: Senior Director)
  • Samantha Bireley – Assistant Director, Baseball Operations (Former: Manager)
  • Jeremy Sowers – Assistant Director, Major League Operations (Former: Manager)

Daniels spent the previous 21 seasons with the Texas Rangers, including the last 17 seasons overseeing their Baseball Operations department. He was the longest-tenured top-ranking baseball official in Rangers history. Daniels joined the Rangers organization in 2002 as a baseball operations assistant, was promoted to director of baseball operations in October 2003 and to Assistant General Manager in July 2004.

On October 4, 2005, he was appointed as the eighth General Manager in Rangers history. At 28 years, 41 days old at the time of his appointment, he became the youngest general manager in Major League Baseball history. He was promoted to President, Baseball Operations and General Manager in March 2013.

Daniels built a postseason club in five of his last 13 seasons with the Rangers and won the American League West Division four times (2010-11, 2015-16). The Rangers made back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010-11 and went to the postseason in three consecutive years from 2010-12. During that stretch, Daniels was named Baseball America’s Major League Executive of the Year in 2010 and the Rangers were selected as the Topps Organization of the Year in 2012.

Daniels graduated from Cornell University in 1999 with a degree in applied economics and management. He and his wife, Robyn, were married in November 2003. They have three children: Lincoln, Harper and Charlotte.

Cousins, Lawdermilk and Rodriguez have all transitioned to Vice President, Assistant General Manager titles.

Cousins ​​joined the Rays in June 2015 and oversees baseball research and development, including the review and optimization of resources across baseball systems. Lawdermilk joined the Rays in February 2018 and participates in general management actions related to the baseball operations staff. She also leverages her decade of experience in recruiting and talent development within the baseball industry to increase diversity, elevate employee experience and harvest the most potential out of employees. Rodriguez joined the Rays in advance of the 2011 season and oversees the club’s player development, baseball performance science, international scouting and academy operations.

Ibach has been promoted to Vice President, Player Personnel. He supervises the Rays major league and professional scouting departments, managing the flow of information between scouts and the baseball operations department. Ibach is entering his 23rd season in professional baseball and 11th season in the Rays front office.

Plexico has been promoted to Vice President, Baseball Systems. He is responsible for software applications for scouting, statistics and player analysis. He joined the Rays in April 2006 and is entering his 18th season with the organization.

Bireley has been promoted to Assistant Director, Baseball Operations and Sowers has been promoted to Assistant Director, Major League Operations. In their roles, they assist with the day-to-day operations of the Major League team and the baseball operations department, including departmental logistics, clubhouse operations, roster configuration and staff management. Bireley joined the Rays organization in 2013 and Sowers joined the Rays in 2016.

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For more information on these front office developments, including how Daniels will be able to mentor staff within the front office, check out Rays Radio’s podcast in which Neil Solondz interviewed Daniels and Rays GM Peter Bendix on the moves.

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