Since the Rangers failed to land really any of their off-season targets, there are several questions facing the team heading into spring training and the 2013 season.
Today's Question: What will the Rangers get from Ian Kinsler after a terrible 2012 season?
Of all the disappointing players the Texas Rangers had in 2012 — the Mike Napolis, the Michael Youngs, the late-season Josh Hamilton, all of which are gone — there was possibly no one more disappointing than Ian Kinsler.
Young is on the downside of his career. Napoli's 2011 was a flash in the pan that screamed regression in 2012. Hamilton is, well, Hamilton. But Kinsler, who turned 30 midway through last season, had every reason to be a good player for the Rangers. In recent years, he'd shored up his defense, seen his on-base percentage climb and had a career-high 32 home runs in 2011.
But 2012 was just awful for Kinsler, all the way around. There's no other way to put it. The Rangers gave Kinsler a big extension, and he made them look foolish.
Kinsler was terrible at the plate, hitting .256 with an on-base of just .326 as the team's leadoff hitter and had just 19 home runs with 21 steals — a career low for a healthy season. He got picked off more than anyone in the American League and committed 18 errors, tying his career high.
So what's the moral of today's story? There's really no where to go for Kinsler but up. The Rangers are hoping working with new hitting coach Dave Magadan and his Boston Red Sox philosophy of working pitchers and getting on base will pay off for the entire team, but Kinsler has a chance to really thrive under Magadan with his style of play.
The Rangers are looking at Kinsler to take on a big-time leadership role for the club, replacing Young as the leader of the clubhouse. With Kinsler's personality, some folks find that idea hard to imagine, and the results have yet to be seen. But make no mistake, the Rangers success in 2013 will have a lot to do with how Kinsler responds both on the field and in the clubhouse.