SURPRISE, Ariz. — Jon Daniels has become thick-skinned over the years. Hes had to trade and cut players. Hes had to fire coaches and scouts. Making those decisions are always difficult and there is plenty of backlash that heads Daniels way.But its still never pleasant for Daniels to hear or read a former player taking personal shots at him, especially one who became a fan favorite and was part of the Texas Rangers best years.Daniels wasnt going to get into the name-calling battle Tuesday morning, but defended the way he does business in light of Ian Kinsler calling him a sleazeball and wishing the Rangers go 0-162 in an ESPN The Magazine story published this week.My friends back home are having fun with it, Daniels said. Its kind of part of the deal, part of the gig. It doesnt make it easier. Ive got young kids, theyre in school. I dont know if my son is hearing about this. You kind of just stay true to who you are and the people who are here that know what we do day in and day out they know whats going on.The 0-162, now listen, obviously hes a competitor. Thats part of what its about. I hope our players are [angry] about that. I do. I think well find out what were made of, and how we go about our business and handle our business. But Im very, very proud of what weve accomplished here over the years.The Rangers made Kinsler the highest-paid second baseman when they signed him to a five-year, $75 million extension in April 2012, and he did back off his comments some Tuesday.Kinsler told Detroit reporters that they were taken a little out of context, but he had no intentions of clarifying anything with Daniels.Theres no reason to, Kinsler said, according to the Detroit Free Press. Hes a grown man. Hes intelligent enough and had enough conversations with me to understand where I stand. Thats really it.In the ESPN story, Kinsler said he felt Daniels ego pushed Nolan Ryan out of the organization, which Daniels said was just not accurate.Im not going to get into it any more than that, Daniels said.Kinsler also mentioned that he wasnt pleased when the team wanted him to take on more of a leadership role last season, saying: They wanted me to lead these young players, teach them the way to compete, when the only thing I should be worried about is how Im performing in the game.Kinsler had a few more complaints about the organization. He didnt like the team asking him to move to first base in 2013 to clear a spot for top prospect Jurickson Profar or finding out on social media that he had been traded to the Tigers in exchange for Prince Fielder this winter.Daniels admitted it was unfortunate that Kinsler learned about the trade that way, but he was on a flight when the deal had been approved by all parties involved.But Daniels now knows the trade was the right way to go.This probably reinforces that the trade itself was probably a good thing for all parties involved, Daniels said. Ian was a good player on the greatest teams in franchise history. He was a key part of that. Were moving on, hes moving on, thats where well leave it.Manager Ron Washington came to Daniels defense, calling an impromptu meeting with local reporters after the morning workout.I wanted to let you guys know as an organization, our unity hasnt dissipated one bit, Washington said. Weve been a united unit since the day I arrived here and the reason why this organization is moving forward is the hard work Jon Daniels and his group has done to try and supply us with players that we can go out and compete with for a championship.Jon Daniels has been one of the best general managers in the game and everything that hes ever done, hes done it simply because its going to make our team better.In the clubhouse, most of Kinslers former teammates brushed off the comments and recalled fond memories of playing with him. They also joked about Kinslers 0-162 comment.Asked if he thought the Rangers could win at least one game, Adrian Beltre said: I hope. Ian is entitled to his opinion, right? I still love him, still like him.Said Colby Lewis: I really liked and loved Kinsy when he was here. Hes a gamer, thats for sure. But everyone is entitled to their opinion, and Im not going to sit here and make the situation more than it is.Josh Hamilton created a stir last spring when he called Dallas-Fort Worth a football town and told Angels reporters that at least I wont be the only villain in Texas now.Hamilton then sent a Twitter message to Kinsler, saying: Not fun being in the Texas doghouse, is it @IKinsler3?But Daniels didnt draw any comparisons between Hamiltons and Kinslers jabs.I think Josh was having a little bit of fun with it, maybe a little backhanded dig, Daniels said. I think he was having a little bit more fun with it and it kind of blew up on him.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison