Ian Kinsler willing to play left field, first base


Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler is willing to play another position, if Ron Washington and the Rangers ask him to.

The Texas Rangers have too many good middle infielders -- and that's a good problem to have. Texas has two capable All-Stars manning the middle infield currently, with Elvis Andrus at shortstop and Ian Kinsler at second base. Texas also has one of the very best prospects in all of baseball knocking on the door in shortstop Jurickson Profar.

The problem for the Rangers is that there are three excellent players for two spots, leaving many to believe that the Rangers will trade one of the three -- most likely, Andrus.

That may not be the case, however, especially since Kinsler told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Jeff Wilson that he would be OK moving off of second base, if the Rangers asked him to.

"I'm paid to be a Texas Ranger," Kinsler said Thursday afternoon before hosting Thanksgiving dinner at the Family Gateway in Dallas. "Where I play on the field is not my decision. I'm going to do whatever I can to help the team win regardless of where I am on the fielder or where I'm hitting in the batting order."

Kinsler believes that he's a capable second baseman, but Profar would play there unless shortstop Elvis Andrus is traded. Daniels said last week that the Rangers don't want to trade Andrus, a two-time All-Star.

It's a delicate situation, since players are usually reluctant to move off of their natural position (see: Michael Young). However, Kinsler's willingness to play left field, or perhaps first base, gives general manager Jon Daniels a bit more leverage in trade talks, and can allow Daniels the opportunity to get a bit creative in free agency if he so desires.

Kinsler's defense has alternated since 2009 -- going from absolute All-Star defensively to slightly above average -- in each of the last four years. In 2011, Kinsler had a DRS (defensive runs saved) of 18, and a UZR/150 of 16.2, but in 2012 took a step back, with a DRS of 1 and UZR/150 of 0.

Still, it's hard to consider Kinsler a liability in the field, and more likely than not, he's an asset at second base.

With a lot of offseason left, it's difficult to forecast what exactly the Rangers will do. At the least, it's good to know that Kinsler is willing to do whatever he has to to help the Rangers.

Maybe he's not so bad after all, Ranger fans.

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