As you’ve heard by now, ESPN magazine released an article by Robert Sanchez (click here for the full article) on Tuesday in which former Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler had some negative comments about the Rangers front office. Being one of his biggest supporters while he played for the Rangers, I had people contacting me from all depths of the internet for my opinion. I will say that, as a person with feelings and problems, he has the right to be upset and say what he wants. However, I’ve picked out some quotes I’d like to respond to.
”It’s weird. In the past four years, Texas has been at the top, but no one says, ‘What a great organization.'”
That’s funny. This January, Keith Law of ESPN ranked the farm systems in baseball. The Texas Rangers came in at 13. Before last season, they were at number 9. That’s pretty good for an organization. In 2011, the Rangers were considered the team to beat in the playoffs. The Texas Rangers were considered the favorites to win. That’s pretty great for an organization. Sure, maybe the Rangers weren’t constantly in the spotlight, but the time of being ignored is gone. Every offseason, it’s always “what does Jon Daniels have up his sleeve?” The Rangers are known.
“Daniels is a sleazeball,” he says. “He got in good with the owners and straight pushed Ryan out.”
Ah, yes. Jon Daniels is a sleazeball because he had a vision for the organization to get better. The owners agreed with Daniels. You can’t play favorites when you are in the front office. It’s strictly business. It’s strictly what will make this team better. If Nolan and Daniels didn’t see eye-to-eye, someone had to go. Jon Daniels has rebuilt this team from the farm system up. Nolan Ryan, sadly, had to say goodbye. It’s tough, but it’s business. Time to move forward. I do appreciate the use of the word “sleazeball,” though. I feel like Yu Darvish should rename one of his pitches “sleazeball.” Then, when he gets Kinsler to pop up for an out with the “sleazeball,” we can say, “Guess that sleazeball pushed you out, too?”
”It’s just ego. Once we went to the World Series, everybody’s ego got huge, except for Nolan’s.”
Are you telling me a 31-year-old professional baseball player with ten years of pro playing experience is upset because someone has an ego? Hah. Well, okay then. Are you also telling me that one of the most respected Texas-bred baseball players doesn’t have an ego? Hah. Well, okay then.
“To be honest with you, I hope they go 0-162. I got friends, and I love my friends, but I hope they lose their a–.”
Alright. Good. This is competition. This is fire. I’m okay with this. Friendly competition is so much fun. (Why does this feel less than friendly?)
“I want to prove to myself that these last two years are not the direction I’m going. Plus, I want to prove to everybody who thinks it is that I’m still an elite ballplayer.”
Well, good luck with that, I suppose. You’re 31. I wish you the best. Maybe elite isn’t the word I’d use. Great. Great is a word I would use.
“I was bogged down,” he says. “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.”
It’s true that not everyone has what it takes to be a leader and in this day, there really shouldn’t be so much emphasis on who is leading the clubhouse. So, I can understand this in some way. However, it really makes Kinsler seem resistant to teaching the young guys anything. He goes on to say he wants to pick Torii Hunter’s brain and learn from him, but he couldn’t be bothered to do the opposite for the young guys on his team. Hey, Kins, you’ve been in the majors for eight years. The young ones are going to learn from you. Also, you are part of team, so maybe you shouldn’t just worry about yourself every day. Just a thought.
“’These guys gotta earn it; that’s what I did,’ he says. ‘I was a 17th-round pick, so there was zero coddling. I had to put myself on the prospect map.’ In other words: No kid was taking his job.”
The story of how Kinsler got to the big leagues is great. He really did work hard. He did what he had to do to put himself on the board, and he made it. He became one of top five second basemen in the league after being a 17th-round draft pick. It’s impressive. Some players don’t have to do that. Jurickson Profar didn’t have to do that. He was already on the prospect map. And guess what, Kins? He took your job. Guess what, Kins? You took Alfonso Soriano’s job. In about ten years (probably fifteen), another kid is going to come and take Profar’s job. That’s just how baseball go.
Hang in there, Ian. Being traded for such a huge talent like Prince Fielder must have been hard. Figuring out that you were valuable enough for the Tigers to give the Rangers Prince Fielder and money must be a real struggle. The one thing I can respect here is that Kinsler never took a dig at the fans like some of the previous players who have left. He can expect considerably less negativity when he makes his return. Despite all these comments, he had a respectable career as a Ranger, and that’s really what matters. (It never hurts to have fun with his words, though.)