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Rangers and Ian Kinsler agree to five-year, $75 million contract extension

Apr 10, 2012, 12:41 AM EDT

Ian Kinsler Getty Images

Ian Kinsler said last week that he was “disappointed” that a contract extension with the Rangers wouldn’t get done by Opening Day, but the two sides were apparently able to bridge the gap over the past couple of days.

According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Rangers and Kinsler have agreed to a five-year extension with an option for a sixth year. An official announcement is expected Tuesday.

Kinsler himself confirmed reports of the deal and added that it’s worth $75 million guaranteed, $5 million of which is a buyout on the option year. The deal kicks in next season, replacing the option year on his existing contract, and will keep him with the club through 2017 and possibly 2018.

Kinsler’s new deal will have an AAV (average annual value) of $15 million per season, which tops Dan Uggla ($12.4 million) for the highest among second baseman. However, it falls just under Chase Utley‘s seven-year, $85 million contract in total value.

Kinsler, a two-time All-Star, owns a .276/.356/.470 batting line in the big leagues. The 29-year-old appeared in a career-high 155 games last season while batting .255/.355/.477 with 32 homers, 77 RBI, 30 stolen bases and an .832 OPS.

  1. dondada10 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    Doesn’t really seem like the Rangers got much of a hometown discount. 5 for 75 is pretty much what he would’ve gotten on the market if he repeated his 2011.

    • Lukehart80 - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:19 AM

      Whether the “hometown discount” is (or should be) a real thing or not, I think this is less than Kinsler would have been able to get on the open market if he keeps putting up his 2011 numbers. He’s arguably the best 2B in baseball and with new TV deals and other revenue streams climbing, salaries are going up too.

      This contract brings the standard risk of any deal paying a player more than five year out when he’ll be 35 at that point, but I think the financials are very fair for both sides, and if I were a Rangers fan, I’d be pleased.

      • hittfamily - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:46 AM

        Agree. No one will want to get in a bidding war with the Dodgers and Cubs this offseason, whom are sure to be huge buyers, and perhaps the Giants with Huff and Rowand coming off the books. It is always better to negotiate against yourself.

  2. storebrandcookies - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    Kinsler is a huge part of the Ranger’s lineup. He can bat third or cleanup on almost any team. He has a rare combination of speed and power at the leadoff spot and the Rangers made the smart move of getting this deal done before free agency. Now comes the question in a couple years from Ranger fans is where stud SS/2B prospect Jurickson Profar will fit in.

  3. paperlions - Apr 10, 2012 at 7:43 AM

    I don’t know what Kinsler would have received on the open market. What I do know is that he has been a completely different hitter when not in the launching pad at Arlington. A career road line of .242/.315/.412 with wRC+ of 92 and wOBA of 92 is not good. He has a career .200 pt home/road split on his OPS.

    Thinking Kinsler is an elite hitter is like confusing Justin Upton for a legitimate MVP candidate because of his performance in the desert. Elite hitters are elite everywhere, not just is uber hitters parks.

    • stex52 - Apr 10, 2012 at 9:35 AM

      Damn, it’s a good thing I agree with you most of the time. You are always spoiling the best discussions with real data. I admit to not following the Rangers closely, but I thought they had made a pretty good deal to counter the possible loss of Hamilton and Napoli. That’s not what the numbers seem to say.

    • Ari Collins - Apr 10, 2012 at 9:57 AM

      A severe home/road split is not, I repeat, NOT valid statistical evidence that a player is a creation of their home park. This has been proven time and again. You are misusing the data.

      What you want to do to analyze a player’s true level of performance is to use park factors. StatCorner has probably the best park factors, because they break it down to, say, whether the park helps RHBs hit doubles but severely hurt LHB homers (here’s Texas: http://www.statcorner.com/team.php?team=TEX&year=2011&leag=A_L). This helps you to see if a batter is particularly helped by their home park.

      Alternately, if you don’t want to do the work, stats like wRC+ already adjust for park factors. That’s how you can see at a glance that Kinsler’s has been better than an average hitter in his park by 20%, while Zobrist has been better than an average hitter in his cavernous park by 15%. Their parks help to mask the fact that Kinsler hasn’t been that much better than Zobrist. However, if you just look at their away numbers, you would conclude that Zobrist is an .803 OPS player to Kinsler’s .727, and that’s just plain inaccurate.

      TL;DR: a severe home/road split often causes people to overadjust for how much a home park helps a batter, since it is not a statistically valid way to correct for park.

      • paperlions - Apr 10, 2012 at 10:32 AM

        I am not saying that the road splits = his true talent; but they likely are a closer estimate of that than his home numbers…which most people use and which were probably even the basis for much/most of the contract negotiation. Regardless of the real explanation (which no one really knows), Kinsler has been horrible on the road his entire career (except for 2008, for some reason)….and every team would have strongly considered the fact when negotiating a deal with him.

        I am still not convinced that current models are effective at evaluating park effects on particular players stats….if they were, home/road splits in stats that attempt to incorporate such information should be much smaller.

      • paperlions - Apr 10, 2012 at 10:40 AM

        For example, look at team home/road splits for wRC+ (allegedly park adjusted). Teams from great hitters parks are all at the top….teams from great pitcher parks are all at the bottom for the home split…..then switch to the road splits…..the comparison does not suggest that the adjustment is doing an adequate job of capturing park effects….because the lists should be in similar rank order and they are not.

      • Ari Collins - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:37 AM

        The reason road wRC+ can be different from home wRC+ is EXACTLY why home/road splits are useless. Some players do better at home than on the road for reasons OTHER than the dimensions of their home park. Some players do better or worse in day games, for instance, which vary from Texas at one end and Wrigley on the other. Some players do a lot better at home REGARDLESS of where that home is (and all players do this to a certain degree). Some players play in divisions with particularly hitter-friendly or pitcher-friendly parks. And a host of other factors.

        There’s just an awful lot of noise going on, so attributing their home/road split to the home park is a poor idea. I’m glad you aren’t someone who just looks at road numbers and says, “That’s how he’d hit in a neutral park,” and I think we can agree that his true ability is somewhere between his home and road numbers, but I disagree strongly that using the splits is at all useful. You’re much better off simply adjusting for the park factors, or using a stat that does it for you.

        There are, of course, as you point out, problems with park factors as well. They are NOT a perfect measurement, by any means. But they remove an awful lot of noise, and are far better than home/road splits.

        Thanks for ignoring my confrontational tone, by the way! I can get overly argumentative, and I appreciate the engagement here. It sounds like your position is a LOT more nuanced than your original post suggested.

  4. js20011041 - Apr 10, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    I think the Rangers were in a little bit of a tough spot here. I’m sure they didn’t want to give Kinsler a 5 year deal, but they don’t really have a viable replacement for him right now in the minors. I too am curious to see what they will do when Profar is ready. Do they trade Andrus? Even if they wanted to move Kinsler at that point, they probably won’t be able to dump that contract on anyone. I will say this about the Rangers. Between the TV deal, the loaded major league roster, and a minor league system that has some studs coming up in a few years, I think the Rangers are going to be the next franchise to join the Yankees and Red Sox in that “superpower” category. Now if only the Red Sox would play like a superpower.

    • hittfamily - Apr 10, 2012 at 9:59 AM

      Add the Dodgers into that mix too. Now that their fans know the franchise is worth 2 Billion dollars, they won’t put up with a 100 million dollar payroll for very long.

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