The winter meetings are in full swing and talks surrounding Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler are heating up.
Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler has long been the subject of offseason trade talks. The 35-year-old has been most closely connected to the Angels and Mets. Speculation is that the Brewers and Blue Jays could be in the market for a second baseman as well.
While there are plenty of teams who could use a player like Kinsler, a multitude of second base options on the market could make dealing him more difficult than expected.
Neil Walker highlights a group of free agent second basemen that includes Brandon Phillips and Chase Utley. Additionally, the trade market includes Jason Kipnis, Josh Harrison and Cesar Hernandez.
Still, Kinsler’s reputation as a great hitter and fielder will attract suitors.
Even coming off a down season, Kinsler was worth 2.4 fWAR for the Tigers in 2017. He hit .236, but his .244 BABIP was the lowest of his career by a huge margin. Assuming his BABIP returns closer to his .273 career norm, Kinsler should hit around .270 with double digit home runs and steals in 2018.
That kind of production is not easy to find, and certainly teams in need of some help at the keystone will inquire about Kinsler.
According to Detroit Free Press writer Anthony Fenech, Kinsler should fetch a mid-level prospect and a low-level prospect in return.
Moving Kinsler and his $11MM contract would free up some money for the Tigers and give them a chance to play some younger guys as they look to the future. We looked at a few options the Tigers have to replace Kinsler should he get dealt.
Dixon Machado is first in line to man second base if Kinsler is traded. The 25-year-old hit .259 with a 64 wRC+ in 166 at-bats last season. Machado profiles more as a utility infielder in the long run. His defense is his strong suit, but unless he starts swinging the stick better he likely won’t be a major league regular.
Ian Kinsler’s four year run as the Tigers starting second baseman is likely over. Where he ends up, and who replaces him, remains to be seen.