Rangers, Kinsler agree on 5-year deal
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Texas Rangers locked up the middle of their infield through 2013.
The Rangers and second baseman Ian Kinsler agreed Tuesday on a five-year, $22 million contract with a club option valued at $10 million for the 2013 season. If the Rangers decline the option, Kinsler would get a $500,000 buyout.
"It's a lot of money," Kinsler said. "I've never imagined being in this position in my life. The whole arbitration process is tough on both sides. For us to be able to avoid that is definitely a positive.
"I was not trying to set the bar and make the most money for a second baseman. I'm just here to play the game and be treated fairly. All I wanted the Rangers to do is step up and make a commitment to me. They did, and I made a commitment to them. I wanted to get it done this year," he said.
The deal comes about a year after the Rangers signed All-Star shortstop Michael Young to a five-year, $80 million extension.
Kinsler contacted Young several times during his negotiations.
"He's been through this whole process before," Kinsler said. "He never told me what to do. He was basically an adviser. He is someone I respect and someone I play right next to. To be able to pick his brain about something like this was very important. He helped me out tremendously."
Kinsler, who made $390,708 in 2007, said he is "not really too worried about" the pressures that arrive with a big salary.
"I'm going to play the same regardless of whether I'm making $5 or $1 trillion," he said. "It really doesn't make a difference to me. I'm going to go out there and play hard and money doesn't bring respect. The way you play the game brings respect. When I finish playing the game, it's not how much money I made that is going to be legacy. It's how I played the game and what I did on the field."
Young and Kinsler have been paired since Kinsler won the job at second in spring training two years ago. He singled off Boston's Curt Schilling in his first major league at-bat and was hitting .476 when he dislocated his left thumb eight days later.
The 24-year-old Kinsler finished 2006 at .286 with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs and led AL rookies with 27 doubles. His batting average dropped to .263 last season, but he had 20 home runs and 23 steals. He was one of six AL players with at least 20 homers and 20 steals.
A 17th-round pick out of Missouri in 2003, Kinsler signed with the Rangers after getting drafted twice by Arizona without agreeing to a contract. He won two Arizona high school championships in suburban Tucson.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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