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.
Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.
While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.
Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.
Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”
Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.
If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.