The Detroit Tigers announced a flurry of roster moves on Monday evening, but the real intrigue comes from one they didn’t announce. Ian Kinsler has been on the trade block ever since the Tigers recorded their final out of 2017, and interest from specific teams is picking up.
Today’s suitor? The New York Mets. Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi reported that the Tigers and Mets “have had preliminary discussions” about a potential Kinsler deal. This doesn’t mean much — asking for Noah Syndergaard in return could be considered “preliminary discussions” — but it’s still something.
Why the Mets are interested: Kinsler has been one of the best second basemen in baseball throughout his career, and has arguably gotten better since arriving in Detroit. In four seasons with the Tigers, Kinsler has been worth 19.9 rWAR with a 107 OPS+. He has also been one of the best defenders in the game during that time, accumulating +57 defensive runs saved.
Why a trade might happen: The Mets have a promising young pitching staff, but finished ninth in the National League in runs scored last year. They traded Neil Walker to the Milwaukee Brewers after falling out of contention last summer, and have no internal replacements to pair with promising young shortstop Amed Rosario.
Why trade talks might stall: Kinsler’s career-worst offensive numbers from 2017 are a major deterrent for teams looking to buy a one-year stopgap at second base. He will turn 36 next June, and also lost a step defensively last year. His $10 million contract isn’t the bargain it looked to be this time last year, and the Mets have several expensive arbitration raises due this winter.