Ian Kinsler could become a free agent following the 2013 season, but he wants to stay with the Rangers for the long haul. According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, Kinsler said that his agent, Jay Franklin, has had preliminary talks with the club about an extension.
“I want to stay here,” Kinsler said. “I was drafted by the Rangers, and I want to be a Ranger. You never know how long it’s going to take. I think the sooner the better for them, and the sooner the better for me.”
Kinsler signed a five-year, $22 million extension with the Rangers way back in 2008. The 29-year-old second baseman is due to make $7 million next season while his contract includes a $10 million club option for 2013 or a $500,000 buyout.
The Rangers are committed to keeping their core pieces in place, but Kinsler’s status may take a back seat to more pressing matters in the days ahead. Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli can both become free agents next offseason, so contract talks are expected to be a priority this offseason. They may also attempt to counter the additions of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson by the division-rival Angels, though general manager Jon Daniels insisted Friday that he isn’t comfortable making a reactive move.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.