Ian Kinsler hopes Rangers go 0-162, calls GM a “sleazeball”

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Ian Kinsler isn’t happy about the way things shook down in Texas, though he comes off far worse than anyone there in an ESPN The Magazine piece posted today.

Kinsler, traded from Texas to Detroit for Prince Fielder over the winter, called Rangers GM Jon Daniels a “sleazeball” who “got in good with the owners and straight pushed [former Rangers CEO Nolan] Ryan out.” He was and still is upset that Michael Young was traded in Dec. 2012 in part because it created a leadership void that he had no interest in filling himself.

“I was bogged down,” Kinsler said. “They wanted me to lead these young players, teach them the way to compete, when the only thing I should be worried about is how I’m performing in the game.”

Kinsler showed just how interested he was in leading when he declined to move to first base to make room for top prospect Jurickson Profar at second base after the 2012 season. That decision, as much as anything else, sealed his fate in Texas.

Daniels was also quoted about the article, but he declined to criticize Kinsler, even after being told of the “sleazeball” comment. “I’m not going to justify that,” he says. “He was a key member of the best teams in the history of the franchise. He’s entitled to his opinion.”

Kinsler, of course, says he’s rededicated himself since the trade. He’s lost 15 pounds, and he intends to show more range at second base. You know, the kind of thing he wasn’t interested in doing for the team that gave him a five-year, $75 million contract in the first place. “To be honest with you, I hope they go 0-162,” Kinsler said. “I got friends, and I love my friends, but I hope they lose their ass.”

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Update: Backtracking Tuesday at the Tigers complex, Kinsler said his comments about about Daniels were taken out of context and that the 0-162 thing was meant as a joke. He called the ESPN The Magazine piece “a story written for drama.

Yadier Molina will not enter contract negotiations during the 2017 season

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is still open to extension talks during the last week of spring training. Once Opening Day rolls around, however, Molina has preemptively nixed any contract negotiations until the end of the 2017 season, when he’s scheduled to hit free agency.

Molina wants to stay with the Cardinals, or so he’s telling reporters, but he’s also “not afraid” to test the free agent market this fall should a deal fail to materialize. Via Goold:

I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.

The 34-year-old backstop is entering his final year under contract, though Goold points out that he has a $15 million option for 2018 that he can choose to decline in the event that it’s exercised by the team. He’s reportedly searching for a figure closer to those made by other top catchers like Buster Posey and Russell Martin.

The 2017 season will mark Molina’s 14th year in the Cardinals’ organization, building on a career that has spanned seven All-Star campaigns, nine postseason runs and two World Series championships in St. Louis. He batted .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and a .787 OPS for the club in 2016.

Colby Rasmus could start 2017 on the disabled list

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Colby Rasmus isn’t ready to take outfield reps just yet. According to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, that’s a red flag, one that could potentially postpone Rasmus’ debut as the club’s designated hitter and outfielder in 2017. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rasmus will need to prove he can play a defensive position before getting cleared for the active roster, something which the veteran outfielder has yet to do this spring.

Rasmus, 30, signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays following his two-year run with the Astros. He batted a meager .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and a .641 OPS in 2016 and was shut down in late September with an unspecified hip/groin issue. Entering the 2017 season, he’s expected to work his way back to a full-time role after undergoing surgery to repair his core muscle and left hip labrum last October.

The Rays also finalized their one-year, $1.2 million deal with catcher Derek Norris on Saturday and will need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. Topkin speculates that the move could send Rasmus to the 60-day disabled list, though the outfielder is not projected to miss more than a couple weeks of the regular season.