Tough Questions With Rangers GM Jon Daniels
DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) — Texas Rangers General Manager and President of Baseball Operations Jon Daniels joined Ben Rogers and Mike Bacsik on Monday for some straight-to-the-point baseball talk.
Texas is 38-57 at the All Star break. Here is a sampling of the uncomfortable questioning that occurred.
Listen below for the full interview.
Bacsik: Why do some people have a lot of hurtful or hateful things to say about you?
“The two that have kind of publicly said something about me notably are Jackie Moore and [Ian] Kinsler — at least that I’m aware of. It is what it is. I made a decision to let Jackie go. I respect his time in the game, but felt it was time for us to do something different in that position. He chose to say what he said. I chose to handle it the way I did and not respond. I still feel that way.
With Ian, I think I’ve pretty clearly apologized both privately and publicly for the way he found out about the trade. I know he was hurt by that, and it shouldn’t have happened. As we said at the time, it kind of leaked out when we were trying to get Prince to waive his no trade, and I was on a plane when it did. By the time I had landed and was able to reach out to him, it was all over Twitter and the internet — and that was regrettable.
Those situations kind of stand on their own. They are what they are.”
Bacsik: Were you upset when nothing was done in response to Kinsler hitting a home run and waving at the Rangers’ dugout?
“Not from a standpoint of anything related to the “sleazeball” comment. That I couldn’t care less about.
I didn’t think it showed well on us as an organization. Ian is an emotional guy; he always kind of does those things — a heart on his sleeve type. I respect that. Whether you think it is right or wrong, that’s who he is and that’s how he’s going to do it. He’s one of those guys that, you love him when he’s on your club. When he’s on the otehr club, it drives you nuts.
I thought that was kind of a, unfortunately a little bit of a statement on our team. There was no response. I’m not talking about hurting anybody or anything like that. There are ways to do it within the respectful boundary of the game. To say hey, we’ve got a little pulse over here. We’ve got a little heart. Even just somebody barking at him from the dugout.
Quite frankly, I think if Ian had been on our team and somebody had done it at that time, he wouldn’t have let that go with nothing done. At minimum, he would have barked at the guy. I was a little disappointed from that standpoint. Not at anybody in particular, just the whole club as itself. You want to see some fight and some fire in those situations.”
Bacsik: I know injuries are a big part of this team. Could Washington be in trouble because the team isn’t playing “balls to the wall” right now?
“We’re not making any changes. We’re not firing a coach or a manager — that’s not the issue right now.
The issue is, we’ve got to get a lot better in a lot of different areas starting with myself. We’re not making any changes.
…Because of some of the injuries, because of decisions that I’ve made, because some of the other things that have happened, maybe some young players not developing the way we hoped and a little bit of under-performance — you understand that we’re going to be at a disadvantage from a talent standpoint. We’re not at the level of the Angels right now talent-wise as far as what is on the field every night — or Detroit or some of these other clubs.
That being said, we should be better than we are. I don’t even mean that our record should be “x” games better. I mean we should play better. There should be a sense of pride and professionalism that comes that our fans deserve — our players deserve. There have been times where that appears to be lacking. That’s not a comment on Wash — it’s on all of us.
Here at the midpoint, we’ve got to look inside. Barring some record-breaking comeback, we know where we are in the standings.
We’re an organization that has won a lot. We expect to win. We expect to do things a certain way.”
Ben: Some people have the perception that you are a meddling GM who makes out the lineup card. Thoughts?
“My job is to oversee everything on the baseball side of the business. So when we have our amateur draft, A.J. Preller and Kip Fagg make our selections. They run the draft. They run the department. But I ask questions. I challenge them…I’ll suggest certain players that read better or listen to the scouts. Why are we on this guy? Why are we not on that guy? Sometimes it will generate discussion and a guy will get moved up and down the board.
Same thing on the big league side. It’s my job to have those kind of conversations and to facilitate those conversations among the staff. I think there’s an older school mentality — 60s, 70s, 80s — where a manager came in, wrote up the lineup card. There was no interaction with the scout. There was not interaction with the front office. There was no analysis. There was no video department. And that was it. That’s not the way the game is played anymore.
There is that discussion. There is a ton of information on the medical side — on all these different things. Part of my job is to facilitate baseball discussion. So do I ask Wash about his thoughts on certain things and playing time? Of course. I would bet 29 other GMs do the same thing. A lot of GMs probably do even more than I do. I know there are some clubs that will actually suggest lineups…
That’s my job. I think it gets twisted to look like I’m this big brother puppeteer. That’s not the case. At the end of the day, Wash makes out the lineup. There are plenty of times where he’s disagreed with me and done something different. Other times, he may disagree with me one day, think it through and come back around and we’ll have another discussion. That’s how things work.
To suggest that this is the only place where those discussions are happening, to me that’s where somebody’s got an axe to grind and is out of touch with how things are working in Major League Baseball these days.”
Ben: There’s the thought that you blew off Nelson Cruz, resulting in him not returning to Arlington. Thoughts?
With Nellie’s situation, there’s a number of things involved. First of all, We made two offers to him that were more lucrative than he ultimately signed. One just a qualifying offer… Nellie turned it down as everybody to this point has. Then we made a two-year offer in the winter, and that was turned down.
We ended up going down the path of signing Choo, and we got to spring training, and Nellie at that point was looking to sign and make a decision. We talked about it quite a bit…
He wanted to go somewhere where he would be a free agent at the end of the year. He wanted to be able to market himself — understandably — as someone who could play in the outfield. The majority of his at-bats, as we were structured, were going to be at DH. That wasn’t his priority…
And we wanted to give Mitch Moreland an opportunity. We made the decision to see if he was up to the challenge to produce in our lineup. Obviously he struggled, then he got hurt. And that’s unfortunately the nature of this business — it hasn’t worked out.”
The Ben and Skin Show airs weekdays from 3-7p in Dallas-Fort Worth on 105.3 The Fan. Be sure to follow the crew on Twitter: @BenRogers @SkinWade @ktfuntweets and @Brendantime