Rebuilding, fan patience, and Ian Kinsler

One of the ongoing issues that the Rangers organization has to deal with, and that us fans have been discussing, is whether the Rangers should just blow everything up, do a tear down, plan on losing 95-100 games the next couple of years, and plan on competing again in 2010.

And one of the arguments in favor of that plan, that is sometimes advanced, is that fans would rather see a bunch of young players who have a future go out and play, even if they lose 100 games, than watch a .500 team with veterans.

I think, though, that that argument is crap.  And the main reason I think so is the fan reaction to Ian Kinsler this year.

Kinsler just turned 25 years old.  He's in his second major league season.  He's in his third season as a second baseman.  He's one of the best young building blocks the Rangers have right now, if they are going to rebuild.

And yet, for much of this season, Kinsler has been the object of fans' wrath.  I've seen repeated calls to bench him, to send him to the minors, to call up Tuglett or German Duran and let them have a chance, because Kinsler just isn't getting it done.

Kinsler is just the most obvious guy, of course...there have also been repeated calls, at various times this season, for Brandon McCarthy to be sent down, for Robinson Tejeda to be sent down, for Gerald Laird to be benched so that we can see what Chris Stewart can do.

But this drives home, to me, the problem inherent with rebuilding...too many fans aren't going to have the patience to do it...

Believe it or not, Ian Kinsler has been one of the Rangers' three best positional players this year (along with Mark Teixeira and Kenny Lofton).  He's third among A.L. second basemen in Runs Above Replacement.  He's fifth among A.L. second basemen in VORP.  He's got an OPS+ of 103.  He's having a pretty good season.

And yet, he's widely considered a disappointment, a guy who maybe the team shouldn't be counting on.

As a point of reference, Ian Kinsler is having a better season than Michael Young.  He's got about the same OBP, a much better slugging percentage, and has been much better as a base stealer.  He's got an edge of 19 points in EQA.

And yet, the media, the broadcasters, even the fans seem happy with Young, point out that he's likely to hit .300 and get 200 hits again, while Kinsler is part of the problem.

I've mentioned before that the dichotomy between Kinsler and Sammy Sosa is remarkable to me.  Sosa is viewed as a success story, and yet he's a DH with a .259 EQA.  Yet Kinsler, the second-year second baseman, has a .276 EQA, and he's a disappointment.

I'm not sure what has turned Kinsler into a team whipping boy this year.  Yes, he's making too many errors, but he's also maintaining a respectable Zone Rating, and I'll trade a few more errors for a guy who has some range.  And it seems like his demeanor on the field turns some people off, because he always looks the same out there...but again, in someone like Michael Young -- a guy who Kinsler has been compared to quite a bit -- that is viewed as steadiness, as composure, whereas in Kinsler, some people interpret it as not caring.

But if the fans can't be tolerant with Ian Kinsler, can't put up with a month-long slump without calling for him to be sent down, then there's no way a rebuilding project will be accepted here.  

Because the team rebuilding is going to involve a lot of guys worse than Ian Kinsler, who will be playing worse than Kinsler has this year.

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