Say what you want about Michael Young, who took a lot of hits from Texas Rangers fans this past season. But there's no question that Young has been the glue in the Rangers' clubhouse for the past 10 years or so as he's stuck with the team through the good times, and the really bad times. And he's never wavered in his leadership role in the clubhouse.
Now that Young is in Philadelphia, the Rangers will be searching for a new guy to take over Young's role that he's filled for so many years.
Enter Ian Kinsler.
Kinsler and Young had side-by-side lockers in the Rangers' clubhouse and were a double-play combination for years before Elvis Andrus made his way to the majors. They're also great friends, so it makes sense that Kinsler will be the new leader of the clubhouse.
That showed on Tuesday when Kinsler addressed questions about his possible move to first base. There have been rumors that Kinsler was not pleased with the move, or the discussion of its possibility. But he put those thoughts to rest.
"My feeling is whatever I need to [do to] help this team win," Kinsler told ESPN Dallas. "Honestly, if they believe putting me at first base is going to field a better team, I’m all for it. Bottom line is I signed a long-term extension to win a championship. If they think me at first is going to help us win a championship, I’m all for it.”
If that doesn't scream leadership, I don't know what does.
Folks had their problems with Kinsler in 2012 after what was arguably his worst all-around season as a Ranger, but if there's one thing you can't question Kinsler for it's his effort.
He's quickly becoming a seasoned vet on what is going to be a young team if the guys that are seemingly going to get chances to contribute this year actually do.
Kinsler said he's willing to learn a new position after being the club's starting second baseman for the past seven seasons, even if it means starting from scratch.
“That’s what spring training is for,” Kinsler said. “If it was a situation where I was moving to the outfield I’d have to know a little earlier because I’d have to strengthen my arm differently and I’d have to be in a little better condition as far as long-distance running. Those are really the only two differences. As far as first base, I’m still going to train the same way as far as explosiveness and trying to get my quickness back and all that kind of stuff. It can be hashed out in spring training.”