With the Dodgers in desperate need of a Second Baseman and Right Handed Bats, Detroit’s Ian Kinsler Could Find Himself in LA.
The Tigers made it apparent during the season that financial flexibility and injecting youth into an aging roster was going to be a priority this offseason. As the offseason approached, GM Al Avila clarified those statements to stress that this did not indicate a full rebuild. Nonetheless, Detroit’s recent trade of Cameron Maybin highlights that any aging, short-term contracts will be made available.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers have a serious shortage at second base. As mentioned above, neither Kendrick or Utley are currently with the organization and their other internal options are vulnerable against same-handed pitching and have recently developed a problem with breaking balls. Willie Calhoun, one of the games top prospects is still at least a year away.
The Dodgers are also known to be in search of right-handed bats in an attempt to balance out a lineup that posted the leagues worst OPS against right-handed pitching.
Putting all this together, the backdrop to an Ian Kinsler trade starts to become pretty clear. A four time All-Star, Kinsler represents an impact right-handed bat capable of providing plenty of value out of the lead off spot. With just one guaranteed year left on his contract, the Tigers will certainly be listening to offers on Kinsler. The Dodgers are asking.
Kinsler, a right-handed hitter, managed an .811 OPS out of the lead off spot in 2016. With his
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glove drawing rave reviews from both DRS and UZR, Kinsler proved the best defensive second baseman in the league for the third year running all while posting a .288/.348/.484 slash line with 28 home runs and 14 stolen bases, combining for a 123 wRC+. When considered in context with his elite defense, Kinsler was worth a solid 5.8 WAR in 2016.
Kinsler’s representatives have already stated that in order to wave his partial no trade clause, the acquiring team would have to offer him an extension. On his current contract, Kinsler is due $11m in 2017 with a $10m club option for 2018, his age 36 season. Guaranteeing Kinsler’s 2018 option as well as adding another year at $10m may be enough to convince Kinsler to waive the clause.
The Tigers meanwhile reportedly have strong interest in Dodgers prospect Cody Bellinger. The slugging first baseman just capped off an impressive AFL campaign in which he managed a .981 OPS. However, Bellinger should and likely would be off limits in any trade for Kinsler. With that in mind I offer up the following trade:
Dodgers Acquire: INF Ian Kinsler
Tigers Acquire: INF Willie Calhoun, P Alex Wood, P Chase De Jong
As mentioned above, Calhoun is an elite prospect at 2b but his glove is so poor that many scouts wonder if he will ever find a defensive home. Wood is a high quality, cost controlled arm that has shown plenty of upside over the last few seasons. However, with so much starting pitching depth, Wood may find himself on the outside looking in in LA. De Jong is a young pitcher whose prospect luster has worn off in recent seasons.
In combination with picking up Kinsler’s extension, such a deal may just find the All-Star second baseman in LA next season.
Should the Dodgers Pursue Kinsler? What would you be willing to give up to get him? Let us know in the comments section below.