Ian Kinsler will enjoy a new start with the Detroit Tigers this season, but not before taking some parting shots at his old team.
According to ESPN The Magazine's Robert Sanchez, Kinsler had some interesting things to say regarding the Texas Rangers, including expressing a desire for them to finish winless in 2014.
"I hope they go 0-162," Kinsler said. "I got friends, and I love my friends, but I hope they lose their (expletive)."
After eight productive seasons in Texas in which Kinsler earned three All-Star nods, the second baseman was dealt to the Tigers in exchange for first baseman Prince Fielder this offseason.
Kinsler backed off the statements later, according to Tom Gage of the Detroit News:
#Tigers Kinsler calls ESPN the Magazine piece about him "a story written for drama" and "a little out of context"
But, the damage was already done.
Apparently there were some hard feelings, although they aren't necessarily shared by his former teammates.
Per Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, Rangers pitcher Tanner Scheppers wishes Kinsler well, but intends to ensure that his desire doesn't come to fruition.
I don't think he's going to get what he wants. I have all the respect in the world for Ian. He's taught me a lot, but he's now with the Detroit Tigers. I wish him luck and I wish luck for everybody. I think we'll do our talking on the field. We'll see what happens between the lines.
Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison echoed those sentiments and claimed that friendships and past relationships don't matter in the heat of battle.
No matter how good a friend you are, once you step in between the lines, all that goes away. I'm trying to get you out, no matter who you are. He's going to try to hit home runs off us just as much as anybody would. If you step on the mound, you're going to try to get your mom out. It doesn't matter who's in there.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times provides a statement from Kinsler's former teammate, Josh Hamilton:
Angels OF Josh Hamilton on Kinsler comments: "At least I won't be the only villain in Texas anymore."
Hamilton later posted on his Twitter account regarding Kinsler's comments:
Not any fun being in the Texas doghouse, is it @IKinsler3?
Kinsler's issues with the Rangers organization, however, appear to be focused on the front office more so than his former teammates.
Kinsler called out Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, according to Sanchez, and blamed him for the departure of former Rangers president Nolan Ryan.
Daniels is a sleazeball. He got in good with the owners and straight pushed Ryan out. He thought all the things he should get credit for, Ryan got credit for. It's just ego. Once we went to the World Series, everybody's ego got huge, except for Nolan's.
Not surprisingly, Daniels was unwilling to take the bait, per Durrett.
It's not worth defending. I'm really proud of the group we've got here, the decisions we've made, the people we have in place and what we're building. Based on how he feels, the trade is probably a good thing for all parties involved. It's a fresh start for him and a fresh start for Prince and us and Detroit, so we'll move on. Name calling and stuff like that, what are you going to do about that? Just take it in stride and move on.
The 31-year-old Kinsler is seemingly making new enemies in Texas, but he rubbed some people the wrong way during his tenure with the Rangers as well. That is evidenced by a tweet courtesy of MLB.com's Richard Justice:
Weird to hear Ian Kinsler torch Rangers GM Jon Daniels. I thought he only despised reporters. Guess he has a list.
Now that Kinsler's feelings are out in the open, it should make for a very interesting 2014 season. The Tigers and Rangers figure to be among the top contenders for the American League pennant along with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
Tigers vs. Rangers hasn't exactly been a marquee rivalry in Major League Baseball, but perhaps that will change with Kinsler leading the charge.
Although Kinsler has been one of baseball's best second basemen for the past several years, he hasn't always gotten his due. Maybe he believes the Rangers bear some of the responsibility for that.
He isn't likely to receive a very warm reaction when he makes his return to the Globe Life Park in Arlington on June 24, but he can certainly silence his critics if he lets his play do the talking.
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