Rangers GM Jon Daniels Discusses Josh Hamilton’s Departure, Defends Lackluster Offseason

December 17, 2012 – 8:00 am by Eric Schmoldt

The Texas Rangers, including general manager Jon Daniels, were blindsided last week when Josh Hamilton abruptly signed with the Los Angeles Angels. Daniels says he wasn’t expecting a chance to match other offers, but was surprised by the timing. It hasn’t been a very flashy offseason for the Rangers, who lost Hamilton and couldn’t put together an offer to get starting pitcher Zack Greinke, but Daniels still believes the team is on the right long-term path.

Jon Daniels joined ESPN Dallas with Ben and Skin to discuss being surprised by Josh Hamilton’s sudden signing with the Angels, how talks were progressing with the free-agent outfielder, his emotions during the situation, why he wasn’t expecting a chance to match another team’s offer and if the Rangers’ offseason has gone horribly wrong.

When you got the news that Josh Hamilton had signed with the Angels, were you shocked?:

“Yeah, there was definitely an element of surprise there. I literally, from a timing standpoint, it couldn’t have been more awkward. We had our holiday media luncheon with the local writers and some broadcast guys there, so literally I had just given the state-of-the-union update, which included me saying there was nothing new on Josh, sat down to have lunch and get a phone call from his agent. So I stepped away and got that news.”

How far had talks progressed with Hamilton?:

“We had presented something to them at the winter meetings — not necessarily a final offer. But just conceptually, it was just a different offer than they were looking for, because there was a chance for him to earn considerably more than there was guaranteed there. At the end of the day, I think the offer he got from Anaheim was certainly better, certainly more guaranteed money, than we put out there.”

On his emotions when delivering the news of Hamilton’s departure:

“Sometimes you see an organization, and we’ve probably been guilty of it over the years … when a guy leaves, there’s kind of a smear campaign on the way out the door. That’s not the case here at all. I was disappointed in how it was handled at the end … but I don’t begrudge him at all for taking that kind of an offer and going. The bottom line is Josh was a huge part of our club for the last five years. He was tremendous for our fan base, tremendous for our team. … Now we’re going to try to get him out and hope he loses a lot of games, but I don’t want to say anything but good for him and his family, personally.”

Were you expecting to get the chance to match any offer before it was accepted?:

“That’s a good question, because there has been some misunderstanding about that. That is where I was a little bit disappointed. At no point did I ever expect the chance to match. This isn’t the NFL with restricted free agency and an offer sheet. … My conversations with Mike Moye, as recently as a few days ago, were just that nothing was going to happen without them circling back to us, and that was still my expectation. … I think what happened was that the Angels more or less put a gun to his head and gave him a really quick deadline.”

On some fans feeling that this offseason has gone horribly wrong for the franchise:

“We set our goals pretty high this winter. We don’t believe in settling. If you don’t get the guy you want, you don’t just naturally move down the list til you get one that you do. The bottom line is there’s guys that you want and guys that, at some point, you just draw a line and say, ‘We’d rather just go with our own.’ No doubt, we were in on Greinke, would’ve loved to have had him, didn’t work out. We were interested in bringing Josh back, didn’t work out. But beyond that, we’re involved in a lot of stuff. Outside of Soria, obviously, we haven’t made any sort of real impact acquisitions so far. Would I like to, is there some frustration? Sure. … We genuinely like our team. I like the core. … Is it perfect? Are there areas to upgrade? Yeah, but there’s also still opportunities to do that this winter, this spring, this season.”

Listen to Jon Daniels on ESPN Radio Dallas here

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