Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 4/4/12

The Texas Rangers and second baseman Ian Kinsler have been discussing a possible six-year contract extension for the better part of two months, but Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the negotiations will be heating up prior to Opening Day on Friday.

Rosenthal states that the Rangers are willing to exceed the record $12.4M average annual value given to Dan Uggla in March 2011, but Kinsler and his agent may be holding out to determine what Robinson Cano receives, which will help set Kinsler’s overall market. Of course, Cano will likely not be a free agent until after the 2013 season, so there are no guarantees that the Yankees’ second baseman will set the market until that time. That could persuade Kinsler to simply ride out the remainder of his contract with the Rangers and attempt to secure the most lucrative deal possible in free agency.

Although Kinsler may ultimately have a chance to sign for more money if he waits until he reaches free agency, the 29-year-old second baseman would take a serious risk. He has been injury-prone throughout his big league career. He only averages 128.8 games per year, and last season was the first season he played in more than 144 games in a single season. Waiting another two years before signing an extension opens up the possibility for more injuries and more question marks, which would only cost him money in his next contract.

For that reason, I would argue that it makes the most financial sense for Kinsler to sign a contract extension prior to Opening Day. It is the same argument for younger players signing contract extensions in their arbitration years. Take a hit in terms of total possible dollars in return for financial security and removing the possibility of one injury shattering the dreams of a mega-contract.

Still, any reasonable contract extension for Ian Kinsler in the next couple of days would set a record for average annual value (AAV) for a second baseman. As stated earlier, that record currently belongs to the $12.4M AAV given to Dan Uggla last spring, and Kinsler was clearly a superior player through their age 29 season.

AVG OBP SLG HR BB% K% Fld WAR Kinsler .275 .355 .469 124 10.2 12.2 5.2 24.6 Uggla .257 .344 .482 121 10.6 22.6 -14.4 14.6

Uggla is known for his prestigious home run power because he has launched at least 30 home runs in each of the past five seasons. Kinsler, on the other hand, broke into the big leagues two years earlier and hit three more home runs through his age 29 season than did Uggla.

Quite simply, Kinsler hits for a higher average, gets on base more, strikes out less, and is a better defender than Uggla. It is positive news that the Texas Rangers are willing to pay Kinsler more than the Braves paid Uggla. He deserves it.

In fact, only 23 second basemen since the live ball era began in 1920 have produced more WAR between their age 24 and age 29 seasons than Ian Kinsler, and amongst those names, only Chase Utley (+33.0 WAR) is an active player. Just another reason why Kinsler should command a record AAV with any possible contract extension he and his agent discuss with the Texas Rangers over the next two days prior to the self-imposed Opening Day deadline.

Rosenthal says Kinsler and the Rangers are discussing a six-year extension. What number makes sense?

Over the past six years in the big leagues, Kinsler has been worth +24.6 wins, which correlates to $107M in value. That does not mean Kinsler and his agent, Jay Franklin, are necessarily seeking a contract north of $100M. After all, Kinsler will hypothetically be signing through his age 37 season, so some level of regression due to age should be expected in any potential contract extension.

It has been reported that the Rangers offered a six-year, $76.5M ($12.75 AAV) contract, and Kinsler turned it down. As of February, Kinsler and his agent have been pushing for a six-year, $90M ($15M AAV) contract extension. That would blow Uggla’s five-year, $62M contract out of the water.

Though the $90M price tag for a second baseman exceeds previous expectations, it may not be out of line for Ian Kinsler. If we assume that each win is worth $5M in today’s market, Kinsler would only have to be a +3 win player per season to play up to that contract. When we consider the fact that he has been worth at least three wins in each of the past four years, that is not such a lofty expectation. Perhaps that $90M request is not as lofty as it appears at first glance.

It should be noted, however, that Kinsler may not play second base throughout the remainder of his career. He has proven injury-prone, and the Texas Rangers have a potential superstar in Jurickson Profar, who could be knocking at the big league door for playing time within the next couple seasons. The outfield may be Kinsler’s home as soon as 2014, and while it would potentially reduce the number of overall injuries, it would also place more emphasis on his bat due to the negative one-win positional adjustment from second base to corner outfield. Not to mention the fact that we have no idea how to project his defense in a corner outfield spot, which could place even more pressure on his bat.

With the bat, Kinsler has only been worth more than +2.5 wins only twice in his career, 2008 and 2011. That should make any GM nervous about potentially locking up $90M in a player who could eventually land at a corner outfield position and negate much of the positional and defensive value he has accumulated throughout the first six years of his career in the big leagues.

If the Rangers would be committed to Kinsler at second base through the majority of his potential six-year contract extension, the $90M contract Kinsler and his agent seek does not seem too far off the mark. His past performance shows us that he should be, on average, a three-win second baseman for the foreseeable future, barring a dramatic dropoff due to injury.

If the Rangers eventually see Kinsler moving from second base to a corner outfield position, however, they should think twice about acquiescing to his $90M request. Moving to a corner outfield position limits his overall value as a player. The Rangers would be paying a corner outfielder as if he were producing as a second baseman, which does not make sense.


MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Reggie Jackson's trolling in an NBA of long-tailed narratives

Top storylines for college football's Rivalry Week

Gabby Douglas says she was also abused by Larry Nassar

MLB punishes Braves, bans former GM for life

Report: Paxton Lynch will start for Broncos in Week 12

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ray Allen claims he was victim of catfishing scheme

Joe Morgan to voters: ‘Steroid users don’t belong here’

Jones confident he will get his way with Goodell contract

Clippers' Doc Rivers firmly on the hot seat

Report: Raiders fire DC Ken Norton Jr.

Cam Newton shares 2008 police photo to share message of hope

NFL Week 12 predictions

College football Week 13 predictions

The 'Greatest show on flat Earth' quiz

NFL MVP Watch: Carson Wentz stands tall among the pack

Young Maple Leafs maturing their way to the NHL elite

The Eagles are soaring but to what heights?

2017 Week 13 college football players to watch

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

The 'Wheelin' and Thielen in Minnesota' quiz

Follow Ben Simmons as he leads us to the NBA's unknown future

Winners and losers from NBA's first month

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

NFL Week 12 predictions

NFL MVP Watch: Carson Wentz stands tall among the pack

The 'Greatest show on flat Earth' quiz

Young Maple Leafs maturing their way to the NHL elite

The Eagles are soaring but to what heights?

2017 Week 13 college football players to watch

The 'Wheelin' and Thielen in Minnesota' quiz

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

NFL Week 11 injury report

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker