Kinsler, Rangers unable to agree on new contract
By STEPHEN HAWKINS
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Ian Kinsler began the season Friday without a new long-term contract from the Texas Rangers.
Kinsler and the Rangers had been talking for several weeks about a new deal, but the second baseman has long insisted on a self-imposed deadline of opening day to negotiate.
Before the opener against the Chicago White Sox, Kinsler indicated the two sides were close but that he was now focused on playing.
"Close enough to be disappointed it's not done," Kinsler said. "I'm concentrating on baseball. I'm not worried about that."
The 29-year-old Kinsler is scheduled to make $7 million this season and the Rangers hold a $10 million option for 2013.
The Rangers' leadoff hitter opened the season with a double, then homered in the third inning off White Sox starter John Danks.
While Kinsler said he no longer will be involved in any negotiations, he didn't completely shut the door on the possibility that his agent, Jay Franklin, could have some further discussions with the Rangers.
General manager Jon Daniels said he wouldn't address or characterize the state of negotiations on a new deal for Kinsler. But Daniels said the Rangers still want to keep Kinsler for a long time.
"Nothing has changed on our end. We absolutely love Ian," Daniels said before the game. "We love what he brings to the club, and hopes he spends the duration of his career here. Nothing's changed in that regard."
Daniels reiterated that the team's general philosophy is to not negotiate contracts during the season. But like Kinsler, he left open the possibility for more discussions with Franklin.
"It's really about not letting anything becoming a distraction," he said. "Anything that we do will be handled privately. ... That's not just with Ian, that's across the board."
Kinsler is a .275 hitter over six major league seasons with the Rangers. He is coming off his second season with 30 homers and 30 stolen bases.
Even though he hit only .255 last season, 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.
Updated April 6, 2012