Detroit Tigers: Predicting Ian Kinsler’s trade market
Tampa Bay Rays
Like their division-rival Blue Jays, the Rays also received below-par production from the team’s second baseman.
Tampa Bay second baseman finished 27th in the league with a -0.3 WAR.
Predominantly using a combination of Brad Miller and Daniel Robertson, Rays’ second baseman also checked in at 27th in the league in cumulative wRC+ with a 75 number.
In years past, Tampa Bay hasn’t competed with a high payroll, so acquiring Kinsler and his $11 million salary (per Spotrac) isn’t exactly the best fit from a financial standpoint.
Still Tampa Bay has a number of contracts coming off the books this winter, including reliever Steve Cishek, third baseman Trevor Plouffe, starting pitcher Alex Cobb, reliever Tommy Hunter, outfielders Colby Rasmus and Peter Bourjos and first baseman Lucas Duda and Logan Morrison.
The Rays could cut down even more salary by moving shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who is set to go through arbitration after making $4.35 million this season (according to Spotrac).
Tampa could then promote Willy Adames to take Hechavarria’s place and slide Brad Miller back to first base.
This would leave second base open for Kinsler.
These Rays players and prospects fit with Detroit’s rebuild
In return for the veteran, there are a number of players who could be fits in Detroit.
Hard-throwing reliever Ryne Stanek, who pitched to a 1.21 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 44.2 Triple-A innings in 2017 could pitch at the back end of Detroit’s bullpen.
Stanek also made 21 appearances in the Majors this season. The 2013 first-round pick also turned in a 3.67 SIERA and 13.05 punch outs per nine frames.
Other hypothetical trade targets include outfielder and speed merchant Mallex Smith and starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi.
Smith is currently buried on the depth chart by Corey Dickerson, Kevin Kiermaier and Steven Souza Jr.
Meanwhile, Eovaldi will return to the Majors in 2018 after missing most of 2017 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.
The Rays have a $2 million club option on the ex-Yankee for the 2018 season. Detroit could take on the salary in part to help Tampa Bay make financial room for Kinsler.
It’s worth noting that Eovaldi could develop into a potential trade chip if he can find his old form.
In 2014 and 2015 he turned in WARs of 2.9 and 3.2 respectively while keeping his FIP south of 3.50 in both seasons.
Next: Why Tigers need to be aggressive on waiver wire this winter
Over the course of the two seasons, the starter logged 354 innings.