Longtime Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler is rejoining the club, the team announced today. Kinsler, who retired following the 2019 season, has been named special assistant to general manager Chris Young.
Kinsler finished his playing career with the San Diego Padres, and joined the Padres front office in an advisor role beginning in 2020. He has also been involved with the Israeli national baseball team, and is managing Israel’s World Baseball Classic team this year.
Kinsler is a longtime favorite of mine who I think has a borderline Hall of Fame case, though I think he ultimately falls on the wrong side of the border. A 17th round draft pick of the Rangers out of the University of Missouri in 2003, Kinsler was traded, along with pitcher Erik Thompson, to the Colorado Rockies for Larry Walker in the summer of 2004, only to have the trade fall through when Walker exercised his 10/5 rights to veto the deal.
Walker vetoing the deal ended up being one of the best things that happened for the Rangers, as Kinsler became an All Star for the Rangers, with a quality all-around game where his speed, defense, power and on base ability resulted in him averaging around 5 bWAR per 150 games while with Texas.
Kinsler was dealt to the Detroit Tigers after the 2013 season in exchange for Prince Fielder in a deal that will go down as one of the worst trades in Rangers history. Kinsler had four very good seasons with the Tigers before playing with the Angels, Red Sox and Padres at the end of his career.
Kinsler’s career 54.1 bWAR is 20th best in MLB history, just behind Jeff Kent and Hall of Famers Billy Herman and Joe Gordon, and just ahead of Dustin Pedroia and Hall of Famers Bid McPhee and Bobby Doerr. He was one of the best player’s in Rangers history, and I’m glad he’s come back home.