Minutes after Ian Kinsler iced Monday night's game against the Seattle Mariners and ensured a victory for Yu Darvish in his big-league debut, the Texas Rangers announced that Kinsler will be in a Rangers uniform for a long time to come after the two parties agreed to five-year extension for a reported $75 million with an option for a sixth year that is set to take effect next season.
The agreement came after Kinsler said he would not discuss contract negotiations once the regular season started, but the two sides were reportedly very close to an agreement on the eve of Opening Day, so they must have just decided to push through and agree.
The deal is essentially below market value for Kinsler, who's become one of the best second basemen in the game, right up there with the Yankees Robinson Cano, who will hit free agency after this season and likely will command $18-19 million a year. So to lock up Kinsler for $14 million per season ($5 million of the deal is a buyout if the Rangers decline the sixth-year club option) is a pretty good deal for the Rangers.
Kinsler is a unique player, who is poised for a big season this year. A leadoff man with 30-home run power and the ability to steal 30 bases a year, Kinsler scored more than 120 runs last year and is set to do the same this year. That doesn't even mention how much better he's gotten at second base. He used to be a bit of a liability after taking over for Michael Young as a rookie, but now he's one of the best second basemen in the league and might have more range than any other one.
The Rangers weren't in a position to be pressing to get the deal done, but they wanted to reward Kinsler for a job well done. They had a $10 millon club option on him for 2013, but decided to go ahead and get the deal done that will take effect next year.
"I don’t think Ian and the Rangers wanted to give up on the deal as close as we were when the deadline came," Kinsler's agent Jay Franklin told the media. "I think it worked out well for Ian and the Rangers. It speaks volumes to Rangers fans because it shows the commitment they have and what they are trying to do here.
"They want to establish a dynasty and an elite franchise, and they are doing that."