Jurickson Profar is regarded as one of the top position prospects in the game, but there’s no room for him in the Rangers’ infield as long as Elvis Andrus is at shortstop and Ian Kinsler is at second base. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels is reluctant to part with either Profar or Andrus, at least if recent trade talks regarding Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton can be believed, so one potential solution is a position switch for Kinsler.
The Rangers haven’t broached the topic with Kinsler, so it’s just an idea for now. But Kinsler told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he would switch positions if asked.
“I’m paid to be a Texas Ranger,” Kinsler said Thursday afternoon before hosting Thanksgving dinner at the Family Gateway in Dallas. “Where I play on the field is not my decision. I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team win regardless of where I am on the fielder or where I’m hitting in the batting order.”
The Rangers probably won’t make a decision on a possible position switch until the offseason winds down, but there could be openings in left field and at first base. Aside from playing two innings at third base in September due to unusual circumstances, Kinsler has exclusively played second base in the major leagues.
Kinsler, 30, signed a five-year, $75 million extension with the Rangers in April which includes a $10 million option for 2018.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.