Milwaukee Brewers Free Agent Target: 2B Ian Kinsler
The Milwaukee Brewers have the future at second base waiting in the minor leagues in Keston Hiura, but he’s a year away. Even though the Brewers have Jonathan Schoop on the roster, could they look outside the organization for help at second in 2019?
It’s been well documented by that the Jonathan Schoop deal didn’t work out for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018. His bat never heated up in Milwaukee, forcing the team to play third baseman Travis Shaw to second more often and Schoop eventually landed himself on the bench behind Hernan Perez.
This off-season, Schoop is up for arbitration which could pay him more than $10 million. The Brewers could come to an agreement with him on a salary and he could stay or trade him away. If they move on from Schoop, the Brewers are going to need to look for help in the middle infield.
One player that could make an immediate impact in Milwaukee on a one-year deal is 2018 Gold Glove winner, Ian Kinsler.
Kinsler will turn 37 years old in June and is coming off a slightly below average year by his standards. With a career .271/.339/.443 line, Kinsler’s stats were down in 2018 after being traded from the Los Angeles Angels mid-season to the Boston Red Sox.
Through 128 games, Kinsler hit to a .240/.301/.380 slash line, hitting 14 home runs, and swiping 16 bases. He played well with the Red Sox as their second base fill-in for the injured Dustin Pedroia in the postseason.
Unlike many aging players, Kinsler has stayed very consistent through his 30’s. In 2014, he was an All-Star, in 2015 he received votes for American League MVP and in 2016 and 2018 he was the American League Gold Glove winner. He has seen a bit of a decline in his bat, but he still would have been better than what was at second base last season for the Crew.
He is also coming off a massive five-year, $75 million contract and is at the age where players usually are thinking about championships and legacy. Considering the current options on the open market, what is on the roster and what is waiting in the minor leagues, Kinsler would make a lot of sense for a Brewers team that was one game away from playing in the World Series.
Kinsler’s Fit In Milwaukee
Another thing to consider for the Crew is how Kinsler would fit in the clubhouse. Once famous for calling his general manager “a sleazeball” after a teammate was traded away, and that he would never play for the Angels, he has changed his tune as he has gotten older. When traded from LA to Boston, Dave Dombrowski, President of Baseball Operations for the Red Sox, called him a “Championship, winning-type player.”
Those same type of comments that Dombrowski made are often made about Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain and third baseman Mike Moustakas, who is currently a free agent. Kinsler, like Cain and Moose, found playoff success with his former teams, finally earning a World Series championship in his third attempt.
Also like many other Brewers players, his social media is focused mainly on his family, dogs, passion for baseball and charitable foundations, which would fit in nicely with the family atmosphere at Miller Park.
The market for Kinsler could also be very interesting, with many teams acting as “sellers” early on in free agency. Milwaukee might be one of only a few “buyers” at the position this off-season.
Given his age and declining bat, Kinsler should be looking for one year deals at this point. That’s exactly how long the Milwaukee Brewers would look to sign him for and it’ll present another opportunity for Kinsler to chase a World Series ring.
With Moustakas and Soria’s contracts coming off the books, the Milwaukee Brewers could make an offer to Kinsler to be the guy that helps a team win now and does not hurt their future winning potential.