Ian Kinsler spent the first eight years of his Major League Baseball career with the Texas Rangers. He was a two-time All-Star and seemed pleased to don the Texas uniform every season that he did. On November 20, the Rangers decided to move in a different direction and trade the second baseman to the Tigers for slugger Prince Fielder. Now, those pleasing thoughts of playing in Texas appear to have been false during the latter stages, as Kinsler recently opened up in an article set to be in ESPN the Magazine March 17.
“There was no remorse from the Rangers,” Kinsler says of the trade. “They did not care.” More: “The team had changed. It was not the same personalities, not the same players, not the same chemistry. To be traded, it was refreshing to start new.”
Clearly for Kinsler, 31, things in Texas were starting to grow south last season. The root of the problem seems to have been from the beginning of the off-season last year, when GM Jon Daniels asked Kinsler to move to first base. Doing so would have opened up a spot for prospect 2B Jurickson Profar.
Kinsler is most likely still in his prime, and he wanted to focus on becoming the best player he could be, not on trying to become the leader of the Ranger’s new, upcoming young core. Michael Young, a longtime Ranger before his trade to the Phillies in 2013, was considered by many as the Rangers leader before his departure. With Young gone, Kinsler was turned to as the next leader for the Rangers, but apparently that wasn’t a good idea.
“I was bogged down,” he told ESPN. “They wanted me to lead these young players, teach them the way to compete, when the only thing I should be worried about is how I’m performing in the game.”
As a result, the Rangers must have felt it was time to send Kinsler off in a blockbuster deal. The worst part of this story might be that Kinsler didn’t even find out he was traded from GM Jon Daniels, but rather a Dallas radio personality.
“I want to be the one who tells Ian,” Daniels said to ESPN, “but literally, the story breaks while I’m on a plane to Tucson. I feel bad that’s how he found out.”
This had to heat up the tension that was already between Kinsler and Daniels. It is also reported from ESPN that Daniels left Kinsler a voice mail, but Kinsler never called him back. Kinsler even had this to say in response to Daniels:
Daniels is a sleazeball,” Kinsler says (ESPN). “He got in good with the owners and straight pushed [Nolan] Ryan out. He thought all the things he should get credit for, Ryan got credit for. It’s just ego. Once we went to the World Series, everybody’s ego got huge, except for Nolan’s.”
“I’ll miss all my teammates,” he says (ESPN). “I’ll miss Elvis [Andrus] and Beltre, Mitch [Moreland], Matt Harrison and [manager Ron] Washington.” Final shot: “To be honest with you, I hope they go 0-162. I got friends, and I love my friends, but I hope they lose their [expletive].”
That just about sums up Kinsler’s emotions while playing for the Rangers last season. He was clearly unhappy, and being in a new setting in Detroit will do nothing but help one of the game’s elite second baseman get back on track in 2014.
The Rangers visit Detroit May 22-25 and then Kinsler’s return to Texas on June 24-26 will now be even more interesting.