The Los Angeles Dodgers are searching high & low for a player to fill their vacancy at second base. They might have found their man in Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers.
There have been talks going on between the two teams over the 34-year old infielder, who is on contract for the 2017 season and has a team option on his 2018 year. He makes a very affordable $11 million in 2017 and there’s a $12 million team option for 2018, or a $5 million buyout. The Tigers are looking to become younger and cheaper, so even if Kinsler has been terrific since arriving from the Rangers three years ago, he fits the profile of someone the Tigers would be interested in trading, as long as the price is right.
One player the Tigers have their eyes on is Cody Bellinger, who can play both outfield and first base. Bellinger fits the Tigers interest in a left-handed power hitter. Bellinger moved to Double-A in 2016, hitting .263 with a .484 slugging stat and 23 home runs, while doing a good job of improving his ability to avoid getting stuck out. He played a little bit in triple-A at the end of the season and showed his considerable power there too, but he’s still a bit far from making his major league debut. His defense at first base and the corner outfield should be good enough and better for the majors, and some talent evaluators see the 21-year old as someone who can hit 30 home runs in the majors.
Kinsler has been one of the more productive players for quite some time in the majors. A terrific defensive presence who just won his first gold glove award, he hit 28 home runs last season (his best since 2011) while batting .288 and posting a .831 OPS. Over the last four seasons he’s batting .284 with a .771 OPS, averaging 17.3 home runs per season. Maybe his most attractive quality as far as the Dodgers are concerned is his ability to hit against left handed pitchers: He batted .309 with .525 slugging against lefties in 2016. The Dodgers were just batting .213 against left-handed pitching, which explains their interest.
Other second basemen the Dodgers have looked into are Brian Dozier of the Minnesota Twins, Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Bengals and Cesar Hernandez of the Philadelphia Phillies. They might end up bringing back Chase Utley through free agency, but at the moment they’re more interested to find what’s out there for them in the trade market, even if it’ll cost them more.