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What does Elvis Andrus’ extension mean for Ian Kinsler and Jurickson Profar?

Apr 1, 2013, 11:19 AM EDT

Ian Kinsler Getty Getty Images

Elvis Andruseight-year, $120 million contract extension puts an end to any speculation that the Rangers would trade him to clear shortstop for stud prospect Jurickson Profar, but in doing so it opens up another can of worms involving Ian Kinsler.

Profar is arguably the No. 1 overall prospect in baseball, so presuming that the Rangers plan to hold onto him second base seems like the natural destination. Of course, Ian Kinsler is the Rangers’ current second baseman and has been since 2006, making three All-Star teams as one of the best all-around players at the position in baseball.

Kinsler is also signed through 2017, with a team option for 2018. So that means either the Rangers will look to trade the 30-year-old Kinsler to open up second base for the 20-year-old Profar or they’ll slide Kinsler to another position to keep them both. Kinsler could certainly play first base, but while his usual 25 homers and .800 OPS are extremely impressive among second basemen that production would be nothing special among first basemen.

It’s an interesting dilemma for the Rangers and certainly a nice problem to have. It’s also not something that needs an immediate resolution, because Profar is currently at Triple-A and turned 20 years old six weeks ago. But the Rangers are going to have some decisions to make pretty soon. Kinsler is owed $13 million this season and $62 million from 2014-2017.

  1. novanation33 - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    8/120 seems crazy for a defensive SS with a career .694 OPS. Especially when you have the #1 prospect in baseball waiting in the wings (at the same position). They should have traded him this past winter; they could have netted themselves a big haul.

    • psuravens19 - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      I agree… Andrus is a very nice player, but that contract seems high to me.

    • APBA Guy - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      It does seem high. I wonder if we are seeing a “new normal” for FA deals because of the all the increased TV revenue?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        It’s $15M a year for a guy who’s entering his age 24 season. He plays elite defense at the hardest defensive position. Isn’t it possible his bat becomes, at a minimum, league average? That + elite defense is well worth $15M.

    • forsch31 - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:48 PM

      Nova…last year Andrus’ OPS was .727, which put him 9th in the majors for shortstops with a minimum of 500 ABs. He’s only 24 years old and has had only 4 seasons in the majors. His “career” OPS is dragged down by a .643 in his second season, with the other two seasons at .702 (rookie) and a .708 OPS (2011). Which would have put him at 11th this year.

      Andrus combines excellent defense with a slightly above average bat. Most shortstops in the league this year are either good at the plate or good in the field, but not both. Given that shortstop is one of the premium positions in baseball, that combination is extremely valuable, especially at his young age.

      • paperlions - Apr 1, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        It’s a below average bat….Arlington drags his OPS (and all other non-normalized stats) up…in a neutral environment, it is a below average bat…one that has been pretty much not improve one iota over the last 4 years, just some variation in BABIP, no more power, no more walks, no more contact. This bat is probably what he is through his prime, which is fine for a SS and pretty good for an elite defensive SS.

      • Mark - Apr 1, 2013 at 6:43 PM

        Paperlions – while Arlington definitely increases his OPS, when you adjust for league/park he still ranks 9th among SS with a 95 wRC+ (I refuse to count Zobrist or Hanley as SS given they played more at other positions).

        You may believe that this is all he’ll ever be as a hitter, but let’s remember that most guys his age are playing in the minors or just starting their careers in the majors. He isn’t in his prime yet. I don’t think he’ll be an elite hitter or even significantly above league average, but given that he’s got a 95 wRC+ now I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest in his prime he can be a league average hitter with elite defence, which is worth the money for the contract.

    • Cereal - Apr 1, 2013 at 4:11 PM

      People underestimate defense. Having a glove like Andrus up the middle is gold.

  2. lyon810 - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    Yes that kind of production isn’t great for first basemen, but it’s essentially the same as the guy they have playing first right now. Except Kinsler will add 20 or so steals.

    Hate how teams obsess over production for a certain position. Who cares if the average first basemen his 30+ homeruns, the average first basemen surely isn’t a solid defender with 20+ steal potential.

    • paperlions - Apr 1, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      Well, teams care and fans should care because having elite production at one spot but giving it all away at another just makes your team average….and Kinsler’s bat really doesn’t profile well at any corner spot.

  3. coryfor3 - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Kinsler’s production at first is still better than Moreland’s. The obstacle there is that I believe Kinsler is on record as not wanting to move to first. His contact value is substantially reduced by moving him to third. Not sure if he just doesn’t want to play first or if it is a free agency value issue. I hate that every player is deemed capable of playing first base these days like it is no big deal or it is an unimportant defensive position. Now every immobile guy who can hit but can’t DH for some reason gets stuck there. Kinsler isn’t immobile- just out of positions.

  4. zzalapski - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Would Kinsler’s defense be adequate at 3B in a couple of years? Beltre’s contract runs through 2015 (his age-36 season), with a vesting option for 2016.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      They have Olt waiting in the wings at third.

  5. vallewho - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    What did Nolan Ryan have to say about this?

    • krispc - Apr 1, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      My position is unclear at this time with the Rangers… AKA trying to determine when I am going to quit because of a GM who wants to set the lineup for the manager. AKA See the movie moneyball.

      Trade Kinsler I don’t think he has a non-trade clause, or trade Elvis to Boston

  6. Jason @ IIATMS - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Betchya they are trying to swap Profar for that Giancarlo Stanton behemoth currently shackled to that AAA team in Miami. (sorry Gator)

  7. echech88 - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    It’s their money so I don’t really care…but recent short stops on World Series champion teams:

    – Brandon Crawford
    – Rafael Furcal
    – Edgar Renteria
    – David Eckstein
    – Derek Jeter

    I’m all for factoring in defense when we evaluate guys…but I can’t help but feel like this contract could be a bit of a jumping the shark moment.

  8. miketreedy - Apr 1, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Both David Murphy and Nelson Cruz will be Free Agents this off season. Plus nobody knows how well Leonys Martin will do in CF this year. So the Rangers could need help at all 3 OF positions. If they feel Kinsler could move to OF that will be the plan. Otherwise they may trade Kinsler or Profar and try to get a big OF bat.

    • krispc - Apr 1, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      Gentry can play CF just fine better than Kinsler by far… Moreland can play RF as well as 1B and is fairly slick playing 1B.

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