Rangers and Ian Kinsler working toward agreement on extension

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UPDATE: Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio reports that the Rangers and Kinsler are working toward a five-year contract extension.

The Rangers would pick up Kinsler’s $10 million option for next season as part of the agreement while the five-year extension would be worth approximately $14 million per season. This would guarantee Kinsler approximately $80 million over the next six seasons.

T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com confirms that the two sides are still “grinding” on contract extension talks and that a six-year deal is in play.

5:00 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported earlier this week that Ian Kinsler and the Rangers were discussing a six-year contract extension, but today the second baseman told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas that there was nothing new to report.

Kinsler also called the negotiations a “confusing process” and described his level of optimism about getting something done as “neutral.”

Kinsler has said that he’d prefer not to negotiate during the season, but unlike some players he isn’t setting a strict Opening Day deadline for the talks if they’re relatively close to getting something done.

He’s also under contract for $7 million this season and the Rangers hold a $10 million option for 2013, so it’s something the two sides could revisit in the offseason.

Report: MLB likely to unilaterally implement pace of play changes

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.

Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”

The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.

It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.