One of the biggest stories surrounding the Texas Rangers this offseason will be how they handle the middle infield situation. The Rangers already have one of the finest double play combinations in baseball with Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler, but they also have Jurickson Profar who is the top-prospect in MLB and is ready for an everyday role in the big leagues.
One of the most often discussed options involves trading Kinsler or Andrust to help the club in other areas and then would allow Profar to move into their slot. At one time, Andrus was the name most often linked to potential trades, but after Andrus had a breakout offensive year in 2012 and Kinsler had a down year, the talk has changed a bit and Kinsler is the name most often linked in the rumors. Today we will look at three reasons why the Rangers should not trade Kinsler this offseason and later this week we will look at the opposite side of the story and explore three reasons the Rangers should explore a Kinsler trade now.
The Rangers Need Depth
One thing that is often seen as teams are able to work their way through the postseason is the amount of depth they have to deal with the situations that arise during a series and within a game. As has been seen in recent years, the Rangers have one of the most talented starting lineups in the league, but there is not enough depth to give guys sufficient rest throughout the year or to deal with situations off the bench. One of the nice things about Kinsler is that many baseball insiders truly believe he could be a solid defensive outfielder. Moving him to the outfield would allow Profar to enter the lineup at second and keep Andrus at shortstop. However playing Kinsler at second two days a week could keep his infield glove fresh and give Profar at least one off day a week. Then Profar could give Andrus a day of rest at shortstop while Kinsler played his second game of the week at second. This would be a situation similar to what many foresaw with Michael Young, but with a more athletic and younger ballplayer. It is not often that teams have the problem of having too many All-Star level middle-infielders, but the Rangers are lucky to have that situation. Rather than run from it, they should embrace it for what it's worth.
His Trade Value Is Down
Kinsler did not have the season he is capable of in 2012 and while most expect him to rebound, he would not get the trade offers that he would have a year ago. He may have to move down in the lineup and while he could still be appealing to teams outside of the leadoff spot, the most important thing is for him to once again prove he can get on base and hit with power. The offers the Rangers could entertain for him could potentially be greater closer to the trade deadline or even next offseason. That is if he can return to his 2011 form when he was a 30/30 man for the second time in his career. Kinsler is fully capable of still being a very productive big league hitter and his trade value should be greater when that is fresh on team's minds.
Kinsler's Leadership Is Underrated
When it comes to leadership on the Rangers, the first names mentioned are always players like Michael Young and Adrian Beltre and that is rightfully so. They have earned that title and nobody should take it away from them. At the same time the Rangers could lose another big leader this offseason in Mike Napoli and there could be a decent amount of turnover with this club before spring training comes around. A player like Kinsler who has been apart of this club over the past few years and understands the clubhouse as well as the dynamics of the organization is not something that should be overlooked. Kinsler definitely had a down year in 2011 and when he is struggling, he is very easy to get down on. The pop ups are even more abundant and the pickoffs come in bunches, but he provides more leadership on this club than is often seen and strong leadership will be needed to help this team return to the World Series.
John Bowman is a lifelong baseball and Texas Rangers fan that loves to ponder the deeper aspects of the game. Some of his first baseball memories involve Arlington Stadium nachos, Charlie Hough's knuckleball, dirt on Pete Incaviglia's uniform and the voices of Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel as he fell asleep.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ian Kinsler
- Elvis Andrus
- Jurickson Profar