Ian Kinsler-to-the-Milwaukee-Brewers rumors were widely known at the 2017 trade deadline. However, a deal never materialized. Should Brewers GM David Stearns consider a deal for Kinsler during the offseason?
If you’re looking for a younger option at second base, the a deal with the Kansas City Royals is a better fit. Ian Kinsler is not a long term solution to the Milwaukee Brewers second base needs. He’ll turn 36 in 2018, but he may still have value for the developing Brewers.
What’s his contact look like?
Kinsler signed a 5-Year deal worth $75 million in 2013. The deal also included a club option worth $11 million for 2018 that vested if he reached 600 plate appearances in 2017. He racked up 613 plate appearances, and he’s essentially on a one-year deal for the 2018 season. $11 million for a 36-year old second baseman with a ton of mileage isn’t ideal, but there isn’t a long term commitment.
What can he do at this point?
Well, he’s not going to win a Gold Glove at second, but he can still get on-base and score runs. Aside from Eric Sogard’s ridiculous hot streak, the Milwaukee Brewers struggled to find offense at second base. That’s part of the reason they turned to Neil Walker.
Kinsler is coming off back-to-back 20-homer seasons, and he’s averaged an 8.5% walk rate for his career. He’s also posted a 5.7 WAR season as recently as 2016. Kinsler has also scored at least 85 times in every season since 2010.
In his career, Kinsler has made 4,865 plate appearances from the lead off spot. He owns a .800 OPS with a .271 batting average. He’s not the prototypical lead off guy, but he knows how to handle a bat, get on base, and score runs.
What will a trade look like?
That’s the question. ‘What will it cost the Milwaukee Brewers to add Ian Kinsler?’ Not much? There isn’t much of a market for 36-year old second baseman who are owed $11 million. If the Brewers took on his salary, they could acquire Kinsler without giving up a top-20 prospect. A 17-year old from the Dominican Summer League or a 25-year old former prospect stuck in Double-A could be all it takes to add Kinsler for the 2018 season.
Unless the Milwaukee Brewers can find a long term solution for second base, they may have to look at veterans like Ian Kinsler. A low-cost / high-reward deal for a player like Kinsler should appeal to Brewers if they’re serious about making another run at a Wild Card or Central Division title in 2018. The Brewers offseason will tell fans exactly what the team thinks it has. If they’re dealing for veterans, they’re looking to contend. If they’re dealing veterans, expect to see a lot of kids. It’s really that simple.