Ian Kinsler is coming for that ass in a recent interview he did with ESPN The Magazine. Right now you might be asking yourself, “Whose ass?” Then you will reread the title of this entry, and everything all of a sudden makes sense again.
He calls general manager Jon Daniels a “sleazeball” and says he hopes the Rangers go “0-162” this upcoming season. As a fan of Kinsler, I hate to treat him like he’s just any old player — because he’s my favorite baseball player — but that’s more or less exactly what he sounds like in this piece.
He sounds like a dude who’s mad that he got traded.
But since I really have always loved the way Ian plays, and respected the persona he’s maintained away from the field, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. So let’s analyze some things he said:
In a moment of veteran pride and defiance of youth, Kinsler declared second his domain. “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.
“We backed off at that point,” says Jon Daniels, Rangers president of baseball operations and general manager. “We presented it as, ‘We would like you to do this,’ and we left it up to him.”
In the real world, if you are an employee of a big business, and your boss recommended you do something, odds are you would probably do it. Right? It seems more than fair of Jon Daniels and the Rangers to give the employee the final decision on which position he wants to play. I understand he’s a veteran, and he certainly had to earn his place in baseball, but at this (declining) stage of Ian Kinsler’s career, if Jurickson Profar playing second base with Kinsler at first would have made the team better… that’s what should have been on top of Ian’s priorities. I thought he was that kind of player. Winning over all.
“Nolan put us on the map. He brought respect to the organization,” Kinsler says. By 2012, that reputation was fading. “I saw the two World Series teams, and the way we played, the toughness we had as a team, it had started to move away from that … It’s weird. In the past four years, Texas has been at the top, but no one says, ‘What a great organization.'”
Actually, I’ve read and heard many intelligent baseball minds laud Jon Daniels and the Rangers as a first-class organization. And the proof is self-evident: The Rangers and Rays are the only two teams in baseball to win 90 or more games each of the last four seasons. An organization can’t maintain such elite consistency if they haven’t been doing a lot of shit right. The Rangers, in spite of the alleged rift between Daniels and Nolan Ryan, have arguably been the American League’s most successful franchise over the last half-decade.
As far as Ian praising Nolan for bringing “respect” and “toughness” to the club, I understand, but I can’t bring myself to support the sentiment. I’ve always felt the pro-Nolan, anti-Daniels people have a way of conveniently omitting the fact that Jon Daniels established the Rangers’ future in 2007, a year before Nolan was in the front office. Daniels did so by trading Mark Teixeira for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison and Neftali Feliz, and flipping Eric Gagñe for David Murphy, Kason Gabbard and Engel Beltre.
Basically, the idea that Nolan’s intangibles exceed the value of some brilliant Daniels’ trades is not only misguided, but it’s kinda blatantly slapping logic in the face. If that was a way for Ian to get across his message that I don’t really like Jon Daniels, I get it. But that doesn’t mean it makes sense.
In the end, I think I’m just disappointed that it had to come to this. Obviously Kins is and always will be one of my guys… I can’t hate him for speaking his version of the truth. But, what it really comes down to, is I’m a Ranger fan before I’m a Kinsler fan. Ian can still be my favorite player — playing in a different uniform — but when he’s in Texas I hope he goes 0-15 with 15 strikeouts. I hope he does well, just not at the expense of my favorite team.
I could keep writing, but I’m not going to keep writing. Adam Morris, I think, sums it up best:
The comments, from a guy who was one of the key pieces of the best Ranger teams ever, are very disappointing, and as a fan of the Rangers and Kinsler, I wish he’d not said it.