St. Louis Cardinals: Ian Kinsler for the Win

There is no secret in the fact that the Detroit Tigers are shopping their roster and perhaps the St. Louis Cardinals could be a great match.

The St. Louis Cardinals are looking to refresh their roster.  The Detroit Tigers are looking to shed weight and money.  Can the two make a match?  These are interesting points and interesting questions and let’s play with the idea a little deeper.

I penned an article yesterday toying with the idea of the St. Louis Cardinals diving head-first into deals with Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera.  Do I think this will happen?  Not really but it sure is fun to play with what-ifs, right?

From this article, I was today contacted by a fellow writer at one of our sister sites, MotorCityBengals (Devin Jones), who suggested a few trade ideas matching the Tigers with the St. Louis Cardinals.  I love idea sharing like this and love sharing with other writers.  I believe he is writing an article on their site now about the exact same topic that I scribe here.

Jones, with whom I agree, supposes that the St. Louis Cardinals- with all of their young pitchers- should match nicely with the Tigers- with all of their MLB talent- as the Cards go nose-to-nose in the NL-Central in 2017.  In all of the potential matches that exist for trades, I think the Tigers might realistically be one of the most natural this offseason.

Our Twitter exchanges centered on one Tigers player of note: Ian Kinsler.  Devin asked me if I thought the Cardinals could hold interest in Kinsler.  You have a look at tell me if you would be interested:

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2006 24 TEX 120 423 65 121 27 1 14 55 11 4 40 64 .286 .347 .454 .801
2007 25 TEX 130 483 96 127 22 2 20 61 23 2 62 83 .263 .355 .441 .796
2008 ★ 26 TEX 121 518 102 165 41 4 18 71 26 2 45 67 .319 .375 .517 .892
2009 27 TEX 144 566 101 143 32 4 31 86 31 5 59 77 .253 .327 .488 .814
2010 ★ 28 TEX 103 391 73 112 20 1 9 45 15 5 56 57 .286 .382 .412 .794
2011 29 TEX 155 620 121 158 34 4 32 77 30 4 89 71 .255 .355 .477 .832
2012 ★ 30 TEX 157 655 105 168 42 5 19 72 21 9 60 90 .256 .326 .423 .749
2013 31 TEX 136 545 85 151 31 2 13 72 15 11 51 59 .277 .344 .413 .757
2014 ★ 32 DET 161 684 100 188 40 4 17 92 15 4 29 79 .275 .307 .420 .727
2015 33 DET 154 624 94 185 35 7 11 73 10 6 43 80 .296 .342 .428 .770
2016 34 DET 153 618 117 178 29 4 28 83 14 6 45 115 .288 .348 .484 .831
11 Yrs 1534 6127 1059 1696 353 38 212 787 211 58 579 842 .277 .344 .451 .795
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2016.

What do you think?  Is Kinsler better than Kolten Wong?  These are Wong’s numbers:

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 22 STL 32 59 6 9 1 0 0 0 3 0 3 12 .153 .194 .169 .363
2014 23 STL 113 402 52 100 14 3 12 42 20 4 21 71 .249 .292 .388 .680
2015 24 STL 150 557 71 146 28 4 11 61 15 8 36 95 .262 .321 .386 .707
2016 25 STL 121 313 39 75 7 7 5 23 7 0 34 52 .240 .327 .355 .682
4 Yrs 416 1331 168 330 50 14 28 126 45 12 94 230 .248 .309 .370 .678
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2016.

Notice that Kinsler batted .048 average points higher than Kolten in 2016 in 305 additional at-bats.  Wouldn’t that have been nice on the squad?!

How about defense?  Kinsler at second in 2016 finished with a UZR of 8.5.  Wong posted a 2016 UZR of 4.5.  Here too, Kinsler is almost twice the player of Wong.  Another difference is in their handedness: Kinsler bats right and throws right; Wong bats left and throws right– if that matters at all (which it might).

Age wise, however, Wong is younger (nine years to be exact) and is less expensive than Kinsler.  Wong is owed $2.5M in 2017 while Kinsler is owed $11M.  Kinsler is under contract through 2017 with a 2018 option valued at $12M with a $5M buy-out.  Wong is under contract through 2020 with a 2021 option valued at $12.5M with a $1M buy-out.

Moving past all of those things, let us assume (very rightly so) that the St. Louis Cardinals would be interested in acquiring Ian Kinsler.  This lead to the two following suggestions from Devin.

St. Louis Gets: Kinsler and Mike Pelfrey/Anibal Sanchez; Tigers Get: Dakota Hudson and Randy Arozarena

I immediately did not like this option. I don’t see the St. Louis Cardinals sending Dakota Hudson in a deal to land the caliber of Kinsler and two tertiary pitchers.  Sorry, I just don’t see it.  Hudson is a stud up-and-comer who jumped the minor league ranks rapidly.  Likewise, I think this devalues Arozarena who was ranked as the number sixteen international prospect.

Why do I call Pelfrey and Sanchez tertiary?  Pelfrey was good in his younger days but posted a 5.07 ERA in 2016 in 119 innings.  Mike Leake can do that for the Cardinals so no improvement here.  Sanchez was also good when younger but posted a 5.87 ERA in 2016 in 153.1 innings.  The St. Louis Cardinals should not take interest in 3+ ERA pitchers when the pitching ranks are so strong in the organization.

This lead to another, more palatable suggestion (IMHO).

St. Louis Gets: Kinsler and Steven Moya; Tigers Get: Austin Gomber and Arozarena

Immediately notice that Devin was wise to move away from pitchers and into position players that might matter to the St. Louis Cardinals.  Moya is a 25-year old right fielder who batted .255/.290/.500 in 2016 in just ninety-four at-bats.  Could Moya come and make an impact with the Cardinals?  I actually feel he could be flipped for more value but this is something the Cardinals could well use.

If Moya came to the Cardinals and stayed, would Stephen Piscotty move to center or left?  Could or should Randal Grichuk be expected to stay at center?  Would a complete season of belief in him at center yield results?  It just might and might be exactly what is needed.

Also, let us entertain the thought of how these two players could impact the batting order.  If Kinsler is in play for the Cardinals, Grichuk could move down and find a different slot in the lineup thus taking less pressure.  And did anyone notice the stolen base counts for Kinsler?! Wouldn’t that have been nice?!

Moving on… Austin Gomber, to his credit, is showing amazing stuff in the AFL.  I’ve written about him recently so go check it out. I think that his value is good for a trade of this nature even though I would hate to say goodbye to the young Cuban signing.

That said, these two names could well go to the Tigers and fizzle and the two names coming could spell some immediate impacts.  The Cardinals need the immediate impacts if they are going to produce and compete in 2017.

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Can you see Kinsler wearing the birds on the bat?  Can you see the Cardinals making a move of this nature?  Follow me on Twitter and let me know your thoughts.  Thanks for reading!

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