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.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.