Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers hits an RBI single to score Derek Holland #45 in the seventh inning during Game Six of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
When the Texas Rangers were silent at the Winter Meetings last week, watching quietly as the rival Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim scooped up C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols, they quickly came out with their plan moving forward: Work on locking up current players who are approaching free agency.
There's a lot of them approaching free agency status in the next year or two: Josh Hamilton, who said he wants a deal before the season starts, Nelson Cruz, Mike Napoli, Elvis Andrus and so on and so forth.
But it seems like the first guy the Rangers are concentrating on locking up is second baseman/leadoff man Ian Kinsler.
Kinsler has always been one of the most polarizing Rangers, going hot and cold with Rangers fandom, but the guy produces even if it's not in the conventional ways.
First off, he has nearly unmatched range at second base and often gets charged with errors on plays that many second baseman in the league simply wouldn't have been in position to make, and consequently have no shot at being charged with an error on.
He's got a tendency to pop-up early in counts too, which can be infuriating at times but when you look at his numbers as a whole from last season, he did a fine job in the leadoff spot.
He hit a mediocre .255 from the leadoff spot, which obviously comes off as being pretty awful on the surface. But when you look at the rest of his numbers at the plate, you see he was highly productive as a leadoff man.
First off, he scored 121 runs which is a huge number and the ultimate job of a leadoff man. He also had his second-career 30/30 season with 32 home runs and 30 stolen bases along with driving in 77 runs, the second-most of his career.
He's currently in a 5-year, $22 million deal that expires after the 2013 season with a club option which would surely be picked up but the Rangers want the 29-year-old locked up for a longer while.