Rangers and Ian Kinsler have discussed contract extension

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Ian Kinsler could become a free agent following the 2013 season, but he wants to stay with the Rangers for the long haul. According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, Kinsler said that his agent, Jay Franklin, has had preliminary talks with the club about an extension.

“I want to stay here,” Kinsler said. “I was drafted by the Rangers, and I want to be a Ranger. You never know how long it’s going to take. I think the sooner the better for them, and the sooner the better for me.”

Kinsler signed a five-year, $22 million extension with the Rangers way back in 2008. The 29-year-old second baseman is due to make $7 million next season while his contract includes a $10 million club option for 2013 or a $500,000 buyout.

The Rangers are committed to keeping their core pieces in place, but Kinsler’s status may take a back seat to more pressing matters in the days ahead. Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli can both become free agents next offseason, so contract talks are expected to be a priority this offseason. They may also attempt to counter the additions of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson by the division-rival Angels, though general manager Jon Daniels insisted Friday that he isn’t comfortable making a reactive move.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.