Tuesday, April 10, 2012

HI NOTES: Tigers struggle, Kinsler gets paid


♦ Remember: Mizzou vs. Illinois Wednesday at 6:30 PM at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Ticket Details HERE



Ian Kinsler gets new $75M contract (ESPN)
The deal, pending a physical, goes into effect next season. The contract includes a $10 million option for a sixth year that could keep the 29-year-old Kinsler in a Texas uniform through the 2018 season. Kinsler is guaranteed $75 million because the deal includes a $5 million buyout should the club not pick up the option.
Ian Kinsler, Rangers agree to five-year deal (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
The deal, pending a physical today, has the largest average annual value ever given to a second baseman at $15 million. It dwarfs by $2.6 million per year the five-year, $62 million deal Dan Uggla signed with Atlanta in 2011.
Thoughts on the Kinsler Extension (SBNation.com)
I think this is a good deal for the team. It could go bad -- Kinsler could have his career de-railed by injuries, or he could decline more quickly than we think he will -- but I think this is a reasonable risk to take.

Assuming the deal is a straight $15 million per year, the Rangers now have almost $60 million committed to five players -- Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, Yu Darvish, Leonys Martin, Elvis Andrus and Derek Holland -- for 2014, and around $55 million committed to that group minus Andrus for 2015. I think there's a chance Beltre is moved before 2014, with Mike Olt coming up, but realistically, all six of those players will likely be in Texas through the life of the contracts.

That's a lot of money on the books, a situation the Rangers have not been in for the past few years. That's going to make it harder for the Rangers to justify giving Josh Hamilton the type of $17-20 million per year, 6-7 year deal he's going to want after the season, especially if the plan is to move Kinsler to left field in the next year or two. The Kinsler extension makes it, I believe, significantly less likely that Hamilton signs a long-term deal with Texas.
Max Scherzer's performance upsetting to Tigers (Detroit News)
Max Scherzer, who is supposed to be a top-of-the-rotation gunslinger, was a mess Sunday even after the Tigers had awarded him early leads of 4-0 and 5-2. Scherzer lasted only 22/3 innings, allowing seven earned runs and eight hits, walking two, balking once, and hitting two batters.

It would explain why Leyland was stabbing angrily at his salad as he sat at his office desk afterward.

"He just had a horrible day," Leyland said of Scherzer, who won 15 games last season and who, until his last start in Florida, had pitched well during the Grapefruit League season.

"He was way out of synch. He was making bad pitches. It just wasn't his day."

Scherzer didn't argue. But he didn't see Sunday's effort as quite the travesty his manager — and most of the 30,788 who turned out at Comerica — considered his performance to be against the Red Sox.

"Mechanically, I felt good," said Scherzer, who ran up a hideous pitch-count in the second and third innings, exiting with 80 pitches thrown. "They hit some good pitches, and they hit some bad pitches. But hits and walks are a recipe for trouble.

♦ Close losses sting for Missouri baseball (The Maneater)
Every game down in College Station, Texas, was decided by one run and, excluding Saturday’s contest, each loss in the Baylor series was by two runs.

“We’re keeping it close, but these are games that we need to be winning, because I think we’re just as good as these teams we’re playing,” senior third baseman Conner Mach said.

Overall, the Tigers can look to the fact that this is not their only tough stretch of the season. Just as everything fell into place after early-season struggles, the same thing could happen in conference play.
. . .
“(We’re) still starting off conference (play), now kind of getting into the swing of it, getting the feel of it, the younger guys kind of know what’s going on,” senior catcher Ben Turner said.

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