Position: Second Base
Contract Expires Following the 2017 Season*
(According to Spotrac, Kinsler’s contract has a team option for 2018 worth $10 million.)
Ian Kinsler seems to be getting better with age.
The 34-year-old second baseman has been plenty productive in his career, with a lifetime 44.2 WAR. What’s more, the veteran has been to four All-Star Games, and has earned MVP votes on four different occasions.
However, 2016 was arguably his best season as a professional.
In addition to winning his first Gold Glove, Kinsler was a force offensively.
Playing in 153 games for the Tigers, the former Ranger racked up 178 hits, 117 runs scored, 83 RBI, 29 doubles, 28 home runs, 14 stolen bases and four triples.
His WAR paced all Detroit position players at 5.8, while the veteran posted the second-highest wRC+ output of his career at 123.
Potential Long-Term Replacements: Dixon Machado, Will Maddox, Hector Martinez or Anthony Pereira
Somewhat similar to first base, Detroit doesn’t have a ton of prospect depth at second. As such, many of the names listed above currently play shortstop, but have experience at the other middle infield position.
Should Jose Iglesias stick around for the long haul with the Tigers, defensive standout Dixon Machado could slide over and eventually replace Kinsler.
Looking to the future, Will Maddox, Hector Martinez and Anthony Pereira could all develop into starting players.
A former 18th-round pick in 2014, Maddox has set about destroying minor league pitching early in his career.
The versatile fielder, who can also man first, accounted for 173 hits, 58 RBI and 28 stolen baes in just 127 games in the Midwest League last season.
If he can continue to produce, he could have a shot at starting in Detroit.
Farther down the minor league ladder, Hector Martinez is coming off a solid season in his first year playing in the States.
Against older competition in the Gulf Coast League, the 20-year-old turned in a .310 batting average and a .367 on-base percentage to go along with 17 runs scored, 10 RBI, seven steals and five extra-base hits in 42 contests.
Rounding out the list is Pereira, who despite being just 20 is already playing at Double-A against players who are on average 5.3 years older than him.
His .560 OPS and nine extra-hits won’t jump off the page. However, if the infielder can continue to develop against significantly older competition, he could have a bright future in the Majors.