Detroit Tigers: Five Potential Destinations for Ian Kinsler

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The Detroit Tigers have shown interest in trading second baseman Ian Kinsler. Where could the Gold Glove recipient end up?

After another stellar year, Ian Kinsler is one of the hottest names on the trade market. It has been notable news of late that the Detroit Tigers have discussed trading the second baseman. Kinsler would definitely leave a hole in Detroit’s lineup, but moving him could add to a very lackluster farm system. Detroit may need to swallow their pride and deal the star second baseman, as he only has two years left in his contract. In the long run, dealing Kinsler may be the best move for the organization.

Detroit is only getting older. Miguel Cabrera is nearing the end of his prime, and other big bats like Victor Martinez are not getting younger. Detroit needs to revitalize their organization while they can, or in two to three years they may find themselves in a deep hole. There are plenty of teams that have a need at second base and could benefit from Kinsler’s great combination of hitting and fielding. Kinsler himself may take a slight hit in numbers, but he will still be a force to reckon with at second base.

There are five teams that Kinsler may end up finding himself on in 2017. These five teams all undeniably have a hole to fill at second base and will have the assets to pay for Kinsler. So teams that have need a second baseman and can’t afford it (i.e. Angels and Padres) will not be included in the list. There are several teams that can benefit from Kinsler’s presence and will be willing to pay. So here are the five teams that could be potential trade destinations for Ian Kinsler this offseason.

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5. St. Louis Cardinals

With Matt Carpenter being able to play anywhere, and the underwhelming performance of Kolten Wong, the Cardinals could benefit from Ian Kinsler. While the outfield and pitching staff seems to be their number one priority, the Cardinals shouldn’t rule out trading for Kinsler. Not only could they put together a package to get him, they could also instantly boost their chances at being able to compete with the powerhouse Chicago Cubs.

To get Kinsler, St. Louis would have to package together some good prospects with big league talent. A deal that would make sense for St. Louis would send Kolten Wong to Detroit, and likely shortstop prospect Delvin Perez. Perez was St. Louis’ first round pick this year, and while he could transition to third base, Aledmys Diaz is their shortstop of the future. If they packaged Wong and Perez with a pitching prospect such as Junior Fernandez, Detroit may send Kinsler their way.

Kinsler would provide a great fielding option at second base, which will bolster the Cardinals’ below average defense. Kinsler could also fill in the three-spot in the batting order, a spot vacated by Matt Holliday. Having Kinsler be the anchor of the lineup would undoubtedly boost the Cardinals’ playoff chances next year. However, St. Louis has other areas of improvement they may need to address first, which may leave a Kinsler deal on the table.

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4. Colorado Rockies

Now this one is very fantasy-like and would be something you see in MLB: The Show. But it has somewhat of enough merit to be included on this list. I know you’re saying, “But the Rockies already have one of baseball’s best in DJ LeMahieu at second!” Yes, they do; however, they also have a giant hole at first base, and that is where Kinsler comes in.

LeMahieu is a second baseman that can play third base as well. He has played 41 games in his career at third base, so he has some credibility there. Third isn’t the only other position LeMahieu has played, as he has played first base as well. Granted, it has only been for four games with a combined 14 innings, but it’s possible. LeMahieu is very tall at 6-foot-4 and could definitely make the move to first base. Not only would that fill a hole at first, it would put Gold Glove winners at first, second, and third base.

Kinsler would undoubtedly make Colorado the best-hitting infield, if they weren’t already. Minus the catcher, with Kinsler the Rockies infield last season would have batted .302 with 107 home runs, and 404 runs scored. Put Kinsler into an even more hitter-friendly ballpark and his numbers may excel even further. To get this deal done, the Rockies may have to trade #6 overall prospect Brendan Rogers along with other various smaller minor league players. Would it be worth it? Only time would tell. As awesome as it would be to see that infield perform together, the Rockies may just keep it simple and acquire a traditional first baseman.

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3. Arizona Diamondbacks

Staying out west, Kinsler could find himself on a different NL West ball club. After a disappointing year following a big offseason, the Arizona Diamondbacks are under new management and likely are looking to make even bigger moves. Kinsler could serve as their big offseason splash, joining Paul Goldschmidt in chasing down the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kinsler would come in as the instant starter at second base. Jean Segura, the existing starter, may as well move back to his natural shortstop. Segura put up fantastic numbers last season, and for many flew under the radar as one of baseball’s best. Segura actually came 13th in MVP voting, batting .319 with 20 home runs and 33 stolen bases. Arizona may want to hold on to Segura, but Detroit may ask for him in return. If Arizona doesn’t want to deal Segura in order to get Kinsler, they must throw more minor league talent into the pot.

To make this deal work without sending off Segura, the Diamondbacks may take a hit to their farm system. The move itself likely isn’t the smartest for Arizona, but they showed last season they want to win now, trading away Dansby Swanson for bust Shelby Miller. Arizona does not have any prospects within the top 100, according to MLB.com. Therefore, Arizona is going to have to offer a whole lot of quantity. Socrates Brito, Anthony Banda, Alex Young, and Anfernee Grier may all have to go.

The smartest move for Arizona may as well be trading Segura along with other smaller big league talents to get Kinsler. Segura had a career year in 2016, and Arizona may be smarter to cash out on him now.

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2. New York Yankees

The New York Yankees further proved they are in rebuilding mode, trading away Brian McCann to the Houston Astros. While now the Yankees are absolutely stacked in minor league talent, they could reap the benefits of Ian Kinsler. Kinsler would come into second, moving Starlin Castro to the DH position, providing a nice power bat along side Gary Sanchez.

The Yankees could afford this deal more than any team on the list, as their farm system is a gold mine. New York currently has six prospects in the top 100 prospect list. They may have to trade one or two to get Kinsler, but it may not hurt their organization as much as you would think. Blake Rutherford is an option, as there are already two outfield prospects ahead of him, and an established Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. Perhaps him and #5-ranked third baseman Miguel Andujar may be enough. If not, New York could package Castro with this deal and Detroit may not be able to reject.

Kinsler would provide an instant spark at Yankee Stadium. Hitting in front of Gary Sanchez, the two could provide one of the best 1-2 punches in baseball. His contract is the perfect length for New York as well. Kinsler would serve two solid seasons at second, allowing more time for prospects Gleyber Torres and Jorge Mateo to be big league ready.

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1. Los Angeles Dodgers

This one is very predictable. Whenever there is any rumor on a second baseman trade, Los Angeles are frontrunners. After dealing Howie Kendrick to the Phillies, there is a massive gap alongside Corey Seager. Chase Utley is a free agent and may serve no better than a platoon player at this point. Also, in a perfect world, an Ian Kinsler deal would be appealing enough to bring Justin Turner back to Los Angeles.

Like the Yankees, the Dodgers have plenty of young talent to trade for Kinsler. The Dodgers also have six prospects on the top 100 list, and could afford to trade some of them. Julio Urias and Cody Bellinger are the untouchables. Personally, I think if the Dodgers dealt any of those two for Kinsler it would be a poor move. However, another young arm Jose De Leon may be dealt, along with second base prospect Willie Calhoun, outfield prospect Alex Verdugo, and maybe even an arm like 2015 first round pick Walker Buehler. The Dodgers may even offer a utility player like Enrique Hernandez; even more likely, offer fewer prospects and throw Yasiel Puig into the mix. As much as I love Puig, I could see him playing center field at Comerica Park.

The Dodgers would still be in good shape, having Bellinger, Urias, among various other minor league talents. They wouldn’t take a huge hit in dealing Puig, as Joc Pederson, Trayce Thompson, and Andre Ethier would start in the outfield with Cody Bellinger knocking on the door. Kinsler would provide a much-needed spark at the top of the lineup. Having Kinsler, Seager, Turner, and Gonzalez as the first four batters of the lineup would provide great offensive numbers.

Kinsler is still arguably in his prime, and serves as more than a one-year rental second baseman. That fact alone may as well make him the most desired second baseman on the trade market. Whether he stays in Detroit or is dealt somewhere else, Kinsler will continue to thrive. Detroit would no doubt bolster their very weak farm system, which may as well make a Kinsler deal a no-brainer.

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