If there’s one thing the hot-stove portion of the baseball off-season is good for it would be rumors, and lots of them. Ian Kinsler is a name that has popped up here and there for various reasons – some stemming from the fact that the Texas Rangers are looking to open up a spot on the field and in the everyday lineup for middle infield phenom Jurickson Profar. Another reason why this rumor continues to pop up is because of the immense need one certain team has at second base, the Baltimore Orioles, and the link between the two organizations when it involves coming to terms on trades.
For those who aren’t quite as familiar with Kinsler as I am here is a little review of his performance since he began his big league career in 2006.
Among all second baseman, from 2006 to 2012, Kinsler has the fifth highest total WAR at 27.5 – the second baseman with the highest total WAR during that same period of time is none other than Chase Utley, who has a massive 44.4 total WAR. Kinsler has hit the fourth most homeruns (143), scored the second most runs (663), driven in the sixth most runs (467), and has stolen the second most bases (157) – for what it’s worth, Brian Roberts has stolen the most in this time period with 175.
Now, I could go into Kinsler’s average, on-base-percentage and all that jazz but I believe it would be far more concise, and relevant, by saying he has the fifth highest wOBA at .353. The second baseman with the highest wOBA during that same time period is – of course – Chase Utley at .382. If you’re not all that familiar with the value of Weighted On-Base Average then this explanation from Fangraphs should make it a little clearer for you:
Weighted On-Base Average combines all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value. While batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage fall short in accuracy and scope, wOBA measures and captures offensive value more accurately and comprehensively.
Moving past Kinsler’s offensive production throughout his career at such an important position, let’s now take a look at his overall defensive performance.
Over his career, Kinsler has saved the Rangers 40 runs at second base – the sixth best total among all second baseman in this six year period. Obviously we don’t want to only consider one defensive metric when trying to evaluate a player’s defensive performance or value, so we will also look at UZR. Kinsler’s UZR rating of 5.0 puts him seventh overall, which isn’t spectacular by any means but what it tells us – coupled with his DRS – is that he is a better than average second baseman. He’s not going to cost you games defensively and that’s important as a second baseman.
I’ve gone over the reasons why Kinsler is a player that would be of great interest to any team that has a need at that position, which now allows me to get back to my original question. Are the Baltimore Orioles pursuing Ian Kinsler?
I reached out to the Orioles front office to confirm this little rumor or not and they said their official policy is to not comment on things of this nature – if there was news for them to release they would do so in the form of a press release. I then reached out to the Rangers front office to confirm whether the Orioles were in contact with them in regards to Kinsler – same thing.
Since I didn’t have Kinsler’s contact information readily available to me I decided to do the next best thing and reach out to his agent, Jay Franklin. From the conversation that I had with him, he told me that as far as he knows there are no conversations taking place between the Orioles and Rangers in relation to Ian Kinsler.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the Orioles haven’t inquired, or that the Rangers aren’t entertaining offers for him, but there are no confirmations being given out – for now.