Rangers and Ian Kinsler agree to five-year, $75 million contract extension

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Ian Kinsler said last week that he was “disappointed” that a contract extension with the Rangers wouldn’t get done by Opening Day, but the two sides were apparently able to bridge the gap over the past couple of days.

According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Rangers and Kinsler have agreed to a five-year extension with an option for a sixth year. An official announcement is expected Tuesday.

Kinsler himself confirmed reports of the deal and added that it’s worth $75 million guaranteed, $5 million of which is a buyout on the option year. The deal kicks in next season, replacing the option year on his existing contract, and will keep him with the club through 2017 and possibly 2018.

Kinsler’s new deal will have an AAV (average annual value) of $15 million per season, which tops Dan Uggla ($12.4 million) for the highest among second baseman. However, it falls just under Chase Utley’s seven-year, $85 million contract in total value.

Kinsler, a two-time All-Star, owns a .276/.356/.470 batting line in the big leagues. The 29-year-old appeared in a career-high 155 games last season while batting .255/.355/.477 with 32 homers, 77 RBI, 30 stolen bases and an .832 OPS.

Kris Bryant on Joey Votto: “He’s the best player ever … He’s a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

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The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.

As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”

Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”

Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.

Video: Daniel Descalso hits D-Backs’ third inside-the-park homer of the season

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Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.

It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.

As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.