By: Will Burchfield
Al Avila has ticked off the main item on his offseason to-do list.
The Tigers on Wednesday traded 35-year-old second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Angels, per Ken Rosenthal.
Kinsler had to waive his no-trade clause to approve the deal.
Buster Olney later the reported the two teams had yet to agree on a deal, but Rosenthal confirmed the trade was official.
Per Katie Strang, the Tigers will get two prospects in return.
The Angels had been pursuing Kinsler for at least the past month. Word first surfaced in November that they were interested in the four-time All-Star and their talks with the Tigers picked up steam this week at the Winter Meetings.
Kinsler was the last major domino to fall in the Tigers’ rebuild that began last July when they shipped J.D. Martinez to the Diamondbacks. Soon thereafter, they dealt Justin Wilson and Alex Avila to the Cubs, Justin Upton to the Angels and Justin Verlander to the Astros.
Veterans Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez remain, but neither is a candidate to be traded.
Kinsler, on the other hand, still had value. He’s due just $11 million in 2018 and his track record speaks for itself. Avila made it clear on Monday that trading Kinsler was one of the Tigers’ offseason priorities.
“In our situation right now, it behooves us to do it,” he told reporters, via the Free Press. “It behooves us to move him, a veteran player, for a prospect, and give (Dixon) Machado the chance to play more often. That would be a move in line with what we’re trying to do.”
Kinsler was acquired by the Tigers in 2013 in the Prince Fielder trade. Over four seasons in Detroit, he hit .275 with 78 home runs and 300 RBI. He was an All-Star in 2014 and won a Gold Glove in 2016.
His offensive numbers dipped in 2017, but Kinsler remains an elite second baseman, perhaps the best in baseball. He’ll combine with shortstop Andrelton Simmons to give the Angels terrific defense up the middle.