Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers.
As a long-time Ian Kinsler apologist, the news of the Texas Rangers being close to signing the second baseman to a long-term extension seems like a slam dunk and an easy decision.
Kinsler, 30, is technically under club control until the end of the 2013 season because the Rangers have a club option they could exercise following this upcoming season, but those never make for happy endings. Players prefer to have extensions, and Kinsler is likely no different. But the second baseman, who's my darkhorse AL MVP candidate this season, has gone on record saying he won't negotiate a contract once the season begins. So there you go, Rangers, you have about two days left to pull the trigger.
The rumored term of this discussed deal is five years at $15 million a year, which would be quite a jump from Kinsler's current five-year, $22 million deal that he signed prior to the 2008 season when he hit a career-high .319. Kinsler has been a controversial figure among Rangers fans, many of whom have hated Kinsler because of a high amount of errors (a number that has come down dramatically) and his at-time over-aggressiveness at the plate (he drew a career-high 89 walks in 2011).
Kinsler, who moved into the leadoff spot in 2011, hit just .255, but had a .355 on-base percentage with 32 home runs and 77 RBIs while scoring a career-high 121 runs. He's gone from being a terrible second baseman to a gold-glove caliber defensive player.
Kinsler is set to have a huge year as his batting average will surely come up from last season, and that amount might move up to $18 or $19 million a year to hang on to him past 2013. The Rangers should strike now, before the iron gets hot.