ARLINGTON, Texas -- There is a possibility Ian Kinsler could be the highest-paid second baseman in baseball history by Opening Day.
Kinsler’s agent, Jay Franklin, and the Texas Rangers continue to discuss a long-term contract extension. Both sides have indicated that they will table the talks if they don’t reach a deal by Friday.
“I would love to get a deal that probably in the long run is going to be team-friendly,” Kinsler said. “I would have no problem with that. I want to stay here. It’s just a matter of them deciding what they think is fair, I guess, or if they’re able to get to a number to show me they appreciate me.”
The sticking point, of course, is what that number should be. There is not a sense of urgency to get the deal done because Kinsler’s contract, which will pay him $7 million this season, includes a $10 million team option for 2013.
That is a bargain for a second baseman who has been an All-Star in two of the past four seasons and had 30-home run, 30-stolen base campaigns in the other two seasons.
Kinsler, 29, is the team’s leadoff hitter and ranked second in the American League with 121 runs scored last season, his third consecutive season scoring at least 100 runs.
“I’m not going to sit here and tell you I want to be the top-paid second baseman in the league, but a lot of things have changed in this game since the last second baseman signed a deal,” Kinsler said. “There’s a lot of things to look at when you are looking at a long-term extension that’s going to keep you in the place that you want to be for the rest of your career, and you want to make sure it’s the right thing for you and your family.
“Whether that makes me the highest-paid second baseman or not, I don’t know, but I want to be here.”
Atlanta’s Dan Uggla signed a five-year, $62 million deal in January 2011, the biggest contract ever given to a second baseman. Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees has the highest salary of any second baseman, being paid $14 million this season with a team option for $15 million next season.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, whose philosophy is not to negotiate during the season, said he doesn’t anticipate getting any deals done before Opening Day.
The Rangers signed Derek Holland, a left-handed starting pitcher, to a five-year deal worth $28.5 million with two club options earlier this spring that could keep him a Ranger for the next seven years. Outfielder Josh Hamilton and catcher Mike Napoli are high-profile Rangers who can become free agents after the season.
“We're not expecting any additional deals at this point, but we've had open and positive conversations on a couple of fronts,” Daniels said. “It only takes one conversation to pick something up again.”
Kinsler said his focus is on preparing to begin the season for the two-time defending AL champions, but he would be “extremely happy” to agree to a long-term extension before Friday.
“We’ll see what happens in the next three days,” Kinsler said.