It was four years ago that the Tigers traded Prince Fielder to the Rangers for Ian Kinsler, and now Kinsler is on the trade block again.
That’s not anything we didn’t know, though, since everybody on the Tigers is a trade chip basically and ownership has made it more than clear that he’s possibly the most available. No, really. Take him already. He’s a trade chip that is practically just sitting out on the sidewalk with a sign that says “one year left on his contract, call now.”
He’s the only Tigers star who wasn’t shipped out of town at the trade deadline, and the Angels have already let slip their interest in Kinsler this offseason. They put a claim in on him during the season, but he didn’t end up leaving Detroit before either deadline.
Kinsler hit .236/.313/.412 this season while posting a 2.1 bWAR, which is ... fine, mostly. That’s 4 bWAR less than his 2016 season and he’s batting more than 50 points worse, but he could still be a contributor on a team that needs a reliable second baseman — the Angels being one of them — who has only missed the 500 PA mark twice in his career.
But Anaheim isn’t the only team that has a need for an upgrade at second, and now Jon Morosi is reporting that multiple other teams are showing interest in Kinsler as well — even if that means he would shift positions to third.
One team could be the Brewers, who “upgraded” from the struggling Jonathan Villar to Neil Walker via a trade, but the latter is now a free agent and the former is ... well ... still the player who put up a .372 slugging percentage and a .665 OPS this year. So that’s a nope. That makes the Mets a possibility as well, which Morosi is also reporting. They need infield help and can send back a decent return.
The Yankees are on the lookout for a third baseman now that Todd Frazier is a free agent (apologies to Chase Headley’s fielding percentage at the hot corner) and obviously they don’t care about salary amounts, especially if it’s only for a year.
Kinsler is only owed $11 million for 2018, so even if his productivity takes a complete nosedive it’s not a multi-year risk to take on for whatever team pays him. However, just because he’s the last major asset on Detroit’s trade block doesn’t mean the Tigers won’t want an actual return on him.
So whichever team it is will have to give up something. A rebuild doesn’t just come out of thin air, you know.