Ian Kinsler, Rangers finalize deal
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ian Kinsler went from playing for three different colleges to becoming the highest paid second baseman in the major leagues.
The Texas Rangers made it official Wednesday, announcing Kinsler signed a five-year extension for $75 million.
The 29-year-old Kinsler is making $7 million this season. The Rangers had a $10 million club option for next season, but the new deal replaces that and will pay him $13 million in 2013.
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"Anytime you can add a player of his caliber and his stature in the clubhouse and on the field, it's important to the organization and important going forward," team president Nolan Ryan said. "The fact that he's come through our system and we've had eyes on him for a long time and seen his growth and development and just see the role that he's taken here says a lot."
Kinsler is set to make $16 million in both 2014 and 2015, $14 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017. The team option in 2018 could be become guaranteed at $12 million and includes a $5 million buyout.
Kinsler is a two-time All-Star who is just one of three second basemen in baseball history to have two seasons with 30 stolen bases and 30 home runs.
Among Rangers second basemen he is the all-time leader in runs, hits, doubles, home runs and RBIs.
Yet it's those humble beginnings that remind Kinsler of where he came from.
"I think about being eight years old and playing in the little league park with my dad and my friends," Kinsler said. "Just the amount of time I spent in baseball leading up to this point is incredible to me and no way to put it into words. I really don't know what to say. I'm pretty much thankful for everything that's happened in my life. I just love to play the game."
Kinsler attended Central Arizona College in 2001 before transferring to Arizona State in 2002. But he left there and went to the University of Missouri, where he started 49 games at shortstop.
The Rangers selected him in the 17th round of the June 2003 draft and he was named the franchise's minor league player of the year in 2004.
"We've seen him grow every year," manager Ron Washington said. "I remember when I first got here, they were reacting to Ian like he had been here for five years. He's a talented kid. The organization stepped out. Each year he gets better. Each year he learns something."
In his first six major league seasons, Kinsler hit .275. Even though he hit only .255 last year, Kinsler had a career-high 32 homers with 77 RBIs, scored 121 runs and had a .355 on-base percentage. He was 30 of 34 on stolen bases.
The Rangers opened contract talks with Kinsler in early January and both sides didn't want to extend those talks into the regular season when they failed to reach an agreement.
But Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said talks would continue as long as they were handled quietly and weren't a distraction.
"It definitely wasn't a distraction, but I definitely thought it wasn't going to get done," Kinsler said. "Basically: Best friends with agent, discuss everything openly and honestly, long process, drawn out, getting emotionally invested. ... Probably the way negotiations usually go."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.