The Texas Rangers are discussing a six-year contract with second baseman Ian Kinsler that would begin in 2013, according to major-league sources.
Indirectly, it might be Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.
Kinsler and the Rangers, trying to complete a deal by the team’s opener on Friday, have been unable to reach agreement on the financial terms of the new contract.
The Rangers, sources say, are willing to give Kinsler a salary higher than Dan Uggla’s record average for a second baseman, $12.4 million. But the team probably does not want to go far above that figure, which is where Cano enters the equation.
The Yankees exercised Cano’s $14 million option for this season and hold a $15 million option on him for 2013. His next deal, whether achieved in an extension or through free agency, figures to be at a much higher number.
Kinsler, who turns 30 on June 22, is signed for $7 million this season with a $10 million club option for 2013; the option would be eliminated in the first year of his new deal.
He might not be at Cano’s level. But, judging from their respective career marks in OPS-plus, he’s not far off.
OPS-plus is a player’s combined on-base/slugging percentage adjusted to his ballpark and league. Cano’s career mark is 119. Kinsler’s is 114. And Kinsler has been even more productive than Cano in the post-season.
So, let’s say Cano’s next deal is for $18 million per season – and that might be conservative, given the recent eruption in the market.
Kinsler, then, might be shortchanging himself if he accepted, say, $14 million per season. His goal might be more in the $16 million range.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told reporters Tuesday that he does not expect to complete any contract extensions before Opening Day. But he also did not rule out the possibility of a last-minute deal with Kinsler or any of the Rangers’ potential free agents, including catcher Mike Napoli and center fielder Josh Hamilton.