I was tired last night, and went to bed early (for me). I did so despite the fact that someone on Twitter mentioned they'd heard that an agreement between Ian Kinsler and the Rangers on a contract extension was reached yesterday, and my belief that there was a good chance an agreement was near.
So I didn't learn about the extension until this morning, when I woke up and checked my phone and saw the news. Five years, $75 million, with an option year that could keep Kinsler in Texas through
20192018. I think that's the ballpark we all figured an extension would come in at, and that's a figure that makes sense for everyone involved.
Kinsler, of course, supposedly had a hard deadline of Opening Day for an extension to get done. Then, when a deal wasn't done by then, he left the door open for the possibility that something could get done in the first week of the season. Since Opening Day, though, there had been radio silence on a possible extension.
That, to me, was a good thing. The fact that we weren't hearing anything about negotiations suggested, to me, the parties were close and were keeping discussions out of the media. If we'd heard that discussions had been broken off, that would have been bad. Hearing that talks were ongoing, well, that has the potential for posturing. The fact that no one was saying anything -- that there was nothing about a Kinsler contract in the papers the previous few days -- suggested that a deal was close.
Robbie Griffin has an analysis of the deal at SBN Dallas, and I offered some thoughts on a potential extension on April 3, which I don't see any need to reiterate. I think this is a good deal for the team. It could go bad -- Kinsler could have his career de-railed by injuries, or he could decline more quickly than we think he will -- but I think this is a reasonable risk to take.
Assuming the deal is a straight $15 million per year, the Rangers now have almost $60 million committed to five players -- Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, Yu Darvish, Leonys Martin, Elvis Andrus and Derek Holland -- for 2014, and around $55 million committed to that group minus Andrus for 2015. I think there's a chance Beltre is moved before 2014, with Mike Olt coming up, but realistically, all six of those players will likely be in Texas through the life of the contracts.
That's a lot of money on the books, a situation the Rangers have not been in for the past few years. That's going to make it harder for the Rangers to justify giving Josh Hamilton the type of $17-20 million per year, 6-7 year deal he's going to want after the season, especially if the plan is to move Kinsler to left field in the next year or two. The Kinsler extension makes it, I believe, significantly less likely that Hamilton signs a long-term deal with Texas.
For any team that isn't the Yankees, though, you can't keep everyone. Front offices have to decide who the best risks are long-term, who is willing to stay at a price that makes sense for the organization and who is going cost more than it makes sense to pay them to keep them with the team going forward. Of the "core" players, Kinsler was apparently seen as one of the most important, both because of his versatile skill set and his leadership role on the team.
This is a good day for the Rangers. Hopefully, Kinsler will make this deal look as good as the last extension he signed.