Detroit Tigers: Examining The Ian Kinsler Trade Market
The MLB offseason is still in its infancy, so the hot stove has yet to heat up. But as Thanksgiving approaches, that is likely to change in the coming week or so. Expect to hear rumors surrounding names who are free agents. Some of the free agents include Yu Darvish and guys who will be trade bait, like Giancarlo Stanton. There are plenty of teams and players to keep an eye on this Winter. But for the purpose of this article, we will be starting with the Detroit Tigers and their second baseman, Ian Kinsler.
Kinsler has seen his name on the trade market for a few years now. But to this point, he has yet to be shipped out of the Motor City. But now circumstances are different. The Tigers traded Justin Upton and Justin Verlander. They finished an American League-worst 64-98 a season ago. Kinsler will be entering the last year of his current contract.
So the variables are there for a trade. Dixon Machado is on the roster and can slide into that second base role without the Tigers having to go out and spend money on a different player. They are in a bit of a rebuild mode at the moment, so getting Kinsler’s $11 million off the books will go a long way.
So that begs the question, who could go after the Detroit Tigers’ second baseman. Let’s look at some of the teams who could have Kinsler in their sights.
Toronto Blue Jays
Second base has long been an issue in Toronto. Names such as Devon Travis and Ryan Goins were both seen as potential long-term options at a point. While both are still on the roster, neither one of them seems to be the answer. Goins is also shortstop insurance for when Troy Tulowitzki gets hurt.
While bringing in a 36-year-old Kinsler is not going to be a long-term solution, especially given he is essentially on a one year deal, he does give them an answer for 2018. His 22 homers and 14 bags in 2017 prove he still has some pop in that bat, and the legs are not gone. He gives the Jays a one-year stop-gap to further check where they want to take things in the future at the place.
Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels are a team that is certainly going to be looking into offensive upgrades this Winter. Mike Trout and Justin Upton cannot carry this team all on their own. Adding at least one bat with recognition is sure to happen for the Halos when the Hot Stove heats up. It just so happens second base is a position where the Dodgers need help now that Brandon Phillips is a free agent.
The free agent market is not exactly flush with second baseman this Winter. Neil Walker and Zack Cozart (who would have to convert from shortstop) are likely the top two options the team could pursue without trading away any players. Neither name strikes this writer as having a better chance at improving the Angels compared to Kinsler. So look for the Angels, who showed they can work with the Tigers via trade with the Upton deal when Kinsler talks heat up.
The Atlanta Braves are in a bit of a tough spot. They have some solid pieces that could lead to them contending this season. However, coming off a 72-90 season, that is far from a given. So they need to decide if giving away a player or two for a one-year rental.
Ozzie Albies and Johan Camargo both had pretty nice runs with the big league club when they got the call a season ago. As things stand now, Albies is the likely starter. If the Braves believe enough in him, they likely do not make a move like this. However, with a young team like they have, looking to add some veteran leadership cannot be off the table completely. Due to the Braves looking for a leader in the clubhouse, Kinsler may not fit the role.
A team that just missed out on the NL Wild Card a season ago, the Brewers are likely in win-now mode. So a one-year rental at a position of weakness certainly feels like it could be a fit. As things stand now, the Brewers need to select from a trio of Jonathan Villar, Eric Sogard and Hernan Perez to man second base. Sure Villar knows how to swipe some bags, but the other two are certainly more tailored to man a utility type of role.
As a result, Kinsler represents an upgrade at the place for sure. If this writer was a gambling man (ok, maybe I am), my money would be in Milwaukee will be Kinsler’s final landing spot for 2018. The Brew Crew don’t really have any bad contracts, but if Detroit was creative, they might be able to pull off a deal that was able to get Jordan Zimmermann off the books in the same deal. But that’s a story for another day.
St. Louis Cardinals
Every year we hear “Kolton Wong is going to breakout this season”. Well, we are still waiting. While Wong batted .285 in 354 at-bats a season ago, the season was nowhere near the breakout St. Louis has been looking for. The 27-year has talent inside him somewhere, but it simply has not translated to a full and productive MLB season yet. Quite frankly, it probably won’t happen unless he gets out of St. Louis.
The Cardinals are sure going to be active this Winter. So why not throw in the second baseman for second baseman swap. And if the Tigers have no faith in Wong, maybe they can convince the Cardinals to part ways with youngster Aledmys Diaz, who fell behind Paul DeJong on the shortstop depth chart a season ago.
So what do you think baseball fans? Will Ian Kinsler still be wearing a Detroit Tigers uniform come Opening Day 2018? Or will he be elsewhere? If so, where? Tell us what you think in the comments!