By: Will Burchfield
The Tigers intend to trade Ian Kinsler.
It may happen this week, it may happen next year, but it’s almost certain to happen before the start of the 2018 season.
“In our situation right now, it behooves us to do it,” Al Avila told reporters on Monday at the Winter Meetings, 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.”
The issue for the Tigers, as the New York Post reported on Wednesday, is that every team with major interest in Kinsler is on his 10-team no-trade list.
The Angels seem to be in hottest pursuit of Kinsler. They expressed interest in him last month and talks have continued at the Winter Meetings. Per Jerry Crasnick, “There’s a sense that Kinsler has emerged as (GM) Billy Eppler’s prime 2B target.”
Pairing Kinsler with shortstop Andrelton Simmons would give the Angels terrific defense in the middle of the infield. Per Anthony Fenech, Angels outfielder Juston Upton has encouraged Eppler to swing a deal for Kinsler. Upton and Kinsler became close friends in Detroit.
Other teams in on Kinsler, according to Krasnick, include the Mets, the Giants and the Brewers. The Brewers originally expressed interest in the second baseman in July.
At this point, Kinsler controls his fate. The teams that want him are those he can turn down. It was reported last year that he’ll only accept a trade to a team that gives him an extension. Kinsler’s contract, which pays him $11 million in 2018, expires after next season.
If, say, the Angels really want him, they’ll have to commit to him for a few more years.
That shouldn’t be too much to ask, especially since every team calling about Kinsler has a clear need at second base. It would make sense to keep him around.
Still, it will complicate things for the Tigers. If Kinsler is seeking specific contract terms that only certain teams are willing to provide, Avila’s list of trade partners will shrink. And it’s not that long to begin with.
The Tigers have plenty of time to get a deal done, and it’s fair to assume they will. After all, it makes both sense for both parties.
But it might not be as smooth as originally expected.