Ian Kinsler sure sounds like a leader

ARLINGTON, Texas – Texas Rangers infielder Ian Kinsler is now the longest-tenured Rangers player on the roster with Michael Young’s departure to Philadelphia.

So what does Kinsler think of that?

“It’s a little overrated, honestly,” Kinsler said Tuesday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Kinsler talked about leadership and about his goals – and those of his team – as part of a conversation with local media prior to signing autographs to help raise money for Cowboy Santas Toy Drive.

“The goal of the team is not who the leader is. The goal of the team is to win and get back to the exciting style of baseball we had in 2009, 2010 and 2011,” Kinsler said.

The second baseman (who said that the club felt him out about moving to first base in 2013, though nothing has been decided) said he didn’t feel there was “that excitement, that energy” in 2012.

“Regardless of who the leader is or who you guys want to say the leader is, it’s about getting the energy back in our ballclub,” Kinsler said. “I’m going to do my best to provide that.”

What does it take to be a leader?

“You have to perform in the field and you have to perform in the clubhouse,” Kinsler said. “It doesn’t matter who it is. There’s no next in line. That’s not the way it works. It’s going to be a different club. We’re going to have some different people in our clubhouse. There’s going to be some subtraction. We’re going to have to figure out throughout the year what type of club we want to be.”

Even in downplaying his role in the clubhouse, Kinsler sure sounds like a leader, doesn’t he? He’s had his locker beside Young’s for most of his career (Kinsler came up to the big leagues in 2006) and has learned a few things. He’s established himself as one of the leaders already and as the veteran on the club, younger players will look toward him even more in 2013.