ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Infielder Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers rounds 3rd base after a home run on the first pitch of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays September 17, 2013 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Reports have surfaced that the Texas Rangers are interested in trading one of their middle infield troika of Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar. So which one should they deal, and which would bring back the most return?
Cut Bait: Ian Kinsler, 2B, age 31
Contract Status: Signed through 2017 for $57 million with a $12 million team option in 2018
2013 Stats: 136 games, .277 batting average, .344 on-base percentage, .413 slugging, 13 home runs, 72 RBIs, 15-for-26 stolen bases, 13 errors
Kinsler has always been one of the most polarizing players the Rangers have among fans. There isn't much middle ground involving him — you either staunchly support him, or you want the Rangers to "cut him" and just let him walk, and pay him his money elsewhere, which is obviously silly.
Kinsler's batting numbers were actually pretty good in 2013 — both his average and his on-base percentage — but his power numbers suffered a serious decline with just 13 home runs — the second-lowest total of his career.
As far as future production and what you're getting down the road (he'll be 35 or 36 when his contract expires), Kinsler might make the most sense to deal. But the financial aspect of his deal makes him a difficult sell. The Rangers would undoubtedly have to pick up a pretty nice chunk of his salary, especially seeing as how he's coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, highlighted by his power outage and his sudden disappearance as a base-runner.
Kinsler hasn't expressed interest in moving positions (either to left field or first base) to accommodate a Profar-to-second-base move, and you really can't blame him. His value is as a second baseman. The Rangers would be better off either dealing him, or dealing Andrus or Profar. Now, the decision is up to them and the trade market.