Ian Kinsler is “disappointed” that long-term extension talks with Rangers have stalled


Amid reports that he was close to a long-term contract extension Ian Kinsler called negotiations with the Rangers a “confusing process” and now it sounds like talks have stalled to the point that a deal may not get done.

In fact, Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas reports that “it appears doubtful the Rangers will reach a contract extension with Kinsler by first pitch.”

Kinsler has said previously that Opening Day isn’t a strict deadline for talks if he feels things are close enough that an extra day or two was all they needed and he told Watkins that they’re “close enough to be disappointed, it’s not done.”

Kinsler added that he’s “not involved anymore” and “I really don’t want to be involved anymore,” although that may simply mean it’s advanced to the point that his agent has everything covered. Or as the All-Star second baseman put it: “It becomes a one phone call type of thing, I guess.”

Braves reassign Ronald Acuña to minor league camp

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

As expected, the Braves on Monday reassigned outfield prospect Ronald Acuña to minor league camp. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman notes Acuña will need to remain in the minors until at least April 13 if the Braves want to gain an extra year of control.

Acuña, 20, is the Braves’ best prospect and the second-best prospect in baseball behind Shohei Ohtani. He hit .325/.374/.522 with 31 doubles, 21 home runs, 82 RBI, 88 runs scored, and 44 stolen bases across three levels of the minor leagues last season, and he hit .432 with four homers and 11 RBI in 44 spring at-bats. Acuña has done everything he needs to do to warrant inclusion on the Braves’ Opening Day roster, but he won’t debut in the majors until at least mid-April.

Service time manipulation isn’t a new concept. Teams do it every year with their top prospects. The Cubs famously kept Kris Bryant in the minors until mid-April in 2015 — more on this shortly —  after a similar prior year and spring training to Acuña where he set the baseball world on fire. The MLBPA filed a grievance on Bryant’s behalf but it didn’t amount to anything. Bryant won the NL Rookie of the Year Award that year.

Clubs are incentivized to keep good players in the minor leagues for longer than is necessary, which means they are not putting their best product on the field. That’s a raw deal for fans as well as the players being manipulated in this way. This should be one of many things the union fights to change when the current collective bargaining agreement expires on December 1, 2021.

Update: This is laughable, but Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos can’t just outright admit they’re keeping Acuña down to manipulate his service time.