|Did Kinsler leave money on the table?||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on April 15, 2012
There have been a lot of big contracts floated out there in the last few weeks.¬† Most of them were locking up young players well into or even past their prime years.¬† However one contract in that bunch stuck out -- the deal signed by 29-year-old Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers.
Why?¬† Maybe because even though the numbers are mind boggling to most of us ($75 million for 5 years, with a club option for a sixth), they also look like Kinsler may have left some money on the table.
That suggests that Kinsler either wasn't working to get the most money possible out of the deal or that he and several of his teammates may be planning on staying together for a long time.¬† Admittedly of all the potential free agents on the Rangers, only Adrian Beltre, Derek Holland and Yu Darvish are signed until or past 2016.
However the Rangers have been reaching out to a core group of offensive players that they'd like to keep.¬† Among those likely to be core players are Michael Young, who like Kinsler has only worn a Texas uniform during his career, and superstar Josh Hamilton.
And retaining Hamilton is something the Rangers would like to do.¬† In fact, now that the Kinsler deal is done, it's almost certainly their top priority.¬† Hamilton should command a pretty penny on the open market, somewhere around $20 million a year, maybe more if he gets to free agency. Hamilton has expressed love for the Rangers organization.¬† That could be a good thing, but Albert Pujols professed one for the Cardinals just before he signed as a free agent in LA.
Admittedly the situation is a different one.¬† Hamilton comes with a lot of baggage, mainly his battles with drug addiction and a recent injury history.¬† The Rangers have babied him through that, even though he's fallen off the wagon once or twice.¬† Be that loyalty, or just wanting to maximize the return on their investment, Hamilton has appreciated that.
But does he appreciate it enough to give them an unbelievable sweetheart deal?¬† Probably not.¬† He's currently playing out the final year of a two-year $24 million dollar deal signed after his MVP 2010 season.¬† It was a big raise from the $3 million he earned that year, but it was very club favorable contract considering the market even in 2010.
For 2013, the Rangers aren't likely to get off so lightly, especially in light of some of the long-term deals that have happened over the last few months.¬† That factor could have affected the Kinsler deal and will probably affect whatever deal they end up working with Young. ¬† It could be a combination of asking for a hometown discount and economizing in order to have money to sign Hamilton.
And Kinsler may well be a voluntary party to that.¬† He, like Hamilton, knows the team is trying to keep a core group together, something many of the Rangers have expressed interest in seeing happen.¬† That could be why his deal seemed a little light on the dollar side, especially considering Kinsler's offensive output and defensive prowess, he may be leaving that money there for Hamilton.