Today, Ian Kinsler is 29 years old. In a couple months, Ian Kinsler will be 30 years old, which doesn't make a big real-world difference, but which does make a big psychological difference. Anyway, as you've read, Kinsler and the Texas Rangers have agreed to a long-term contract extension that gets Kinsler signed through 2017, with a 2018 option. In the short-term, this is good news for the Rangers, as these things almost always are in the short-term. But in the long-term, what does this mean? We turn to Dave Cameron, at FanGraphs:
For whatever reason, the aging curve for second baseman is fairly steep, and even some of the best players at the position have just stopped being productive in their early thirties. So, while the Rangers signed Kinsler to be their second baseman now, I’d imagine they realize that he’s probably not long for the position.
With Elvis Andrus at short and Kinsler at second, someone is going to get out of [Jurickson] Profar’s way in the next 12-18 months, and considering what we know about Kinsler and Andrus’ expected aging curves, it should almost certainly be Kinsler.
The analysis is kind of the standard analysis. Which I don't mean as a shot at Cameron - it's just the way it goes. You take Kinsler, you look at similar players, and you observe that some of them have performed well into their 30s, and some of them have declined in their 30s. What makes this a little different is that Kinsler's a second baseman, which is a position where players seem to decline relatively quickly, and that the Rangers have Jurickson Profar, who is a teenaged super-prospect. If Profar continues to develop, room will need to be made, and with Adrian Beltre around, that could force Kinsler into the outfield.
Or it could force any number of things. Or Profar might not continue to develop. Or Elvis Andrus could get badly injured or something. It's the future! Don't guess at the future! But in the future, Ian Kinsler could be in line for a job change, and said job change might be good for his body.