Archive for the ‘Ian Kinsler’ Category

MLB: Texas Rangers-Photo Day

For being a model organization, there seems to be an awful lot of off-the-field crap that follows the Texas Rangers and their players. Perhaps it’s the legacy of recent near-misses and the resultant finger-pointing. A few years of whiffing the rarefied World Series air after decades of irrelevance turned the Rangers into magnets for controversy.

Former Ranger Ian Kinsler made headlines today when he sounded off on his old team, calling Rangers GM Jon Daniels a “sleazeball” and wishing the team would “go 0-162.” While Kinsler walked back the latter statement, there is obvious hostility between the Tigers new second baseman and his former club. While Kinsler calls his former boss names and disparages the team that gave him his big league chance, there is something to be said for one of the main themes running through his ESPN The Magazine interview - leadership.

Kinsler hardly shows it and he claims the Rangers lacked it after dealing away Michael Young. Perhaps, contrary to what Mr. Kinsler thinks, leadership has always been a problem in Texas. With or without Michael Young, the Rangers organization can’t see to put the right foot forward.

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MLB: Detroit Tigers-Workout

The Detroit Tigers are a great baseball team. They were last year, they were in 2012, and they were in 2011. The Tigers reached the American League championship series in each of these years, advancing to the World Series in 2012 only to be swept by the San Francisco Giants.

The Tigers have been a great team over the last few years because they have great players – lots of them. Their best player emerged from an infamous battle with alcoholism and their best pitcher hit his peak with gusto. The team did a great job supporting Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander with more talent, taking on salary and acquiring the likes of Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, and Torii Hunter, to name a few.

The Tigers begin their 2014 campaign with a slightly different look. Gone is Jim Leyland, the grizzled face of the team who also oversaw three 90 wins seasons in his 8 year tenure. Former player Brad Ausmus is the new bench boss and he inherits a job that is both incredibly difficult and easy at the same time.

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Person A: It’s 5:30 PM anywhere in North America, and the caller on the sports talk radio station has an opinion: the front office of his favorite team is a collection of imbeciles. They’re idiots. The players they acquired are useless. The talent they let go is irreplaceable. Morons. Every single one of them.

Why? No reason is given. It’s sports talk radio, and there isn’t time for reasoning and analysis. It’s about sound bytes, and the most recent caller provided a nice little blue collar rant with which the rest of the commuters listening will identify and enjoy.

Person B: A couple hours later, an unappreciated underachiever gets home from his unchallenging office job. Within minutes of arriving at the house, the transaction tracker on a mobile sports app gets checked, a website is visited, players are compared and the exact same conclusion is had: the general manager is an idiot who has made a series of terrible mistakes with his roster construction.

Why? Well, it’s plain to see with a statistical breakdown and a cost/benefit comparison that accounts for a declining skill set based on the history of similar players and current projections.

Who is the bigger idiot: Person A or Person B?

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As relayed in the link dump this morning, the Rangers relented on their original “plan” to move Ian Kinsler to first base in an attempt to make room for super prospect Jurickson Profar. Rangers GM Jon Daniels instead believes Profar will start the season in the minor leagues, keeping Kinsler at second base and giving Mitch Moreland a chance to earn more playing time at first.

The decision to keep Kinsler at second base also suggests Mike Olt will start the year in the minor leagues. Decisions like these are tough but make the Rangers the envy of many GMs around the league. Too much talent is never a bad thing, but how do the “win now” Rangers arrange their infield to get the most of their copious talent?

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