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The New York Mets are in the market for a second baseman.
According to Marc Carig of Newsday, the team has “had trade talks with Detroit Tigers about Ian Kinsler and also with Cleveland about Jason Kipnis.” He added: “I hear they may also use winter meetings to explore deal with Pittsburgh Pirates for Josh Harrison.”
Let’s focus on Kinsler and Kipnis.
The former is on the trade block, as Katie Strang of The Athletic reported:
“A source involved in the front office discussion told The Athletic earlier this week that efforts to move the veteran second baseman have intensified recently.
“A few teams have surfaced this offseason in connection with Kinsler—primarily the Mets and the Los Angeles Angels—and there has even been talk about additional teams entering the mix for the sure-handed defender if he was willing to play third base.”
Kinsler, 35, hit .236 with 22 homers and 52 RBI in the 2017 season. But as Strang noted, the Tigers have the first overall pick in the Rule 5 draft but need to clear roster space to land a player that may intrigue the organization. Kinsler has emerged as the most likely trade chip to accomplish that goal.
And the Tigers likely would be fine moving on from his $11 million salary as well.
Kipnis, meanwhile, played in just 90 games for Cleveland in the 2017 season, hitting just .232 with 12 home runs and 35 RBI. It was a disappointing campaign for the 30-year-old, especially after his excellent 2016 season that saw him blast 23 homers and 82 RBI.
Kipnis also slumped in the postseason, hitting .182 with an RBI in five games. Meanwhile, Jose Ramirez had a breakout season (29 homers, 83 RBI) and is more than capable of playing second base, and Cleveland moved Kipnis to center field at the end of last season.
Add in the $13.5 million owed to him in 2018, and it isn’t hard to see why Cleveland may deem the two-time All-Star expendable.
As for the Mets, addressing the infield is absolutely a priority this offseason, as Mike Puma of the New York Post wrote:
“…It remains more likely the Mets will acquire a second baseman, first looking to a trade market that includes Kipnis, Kinsler, Harrison and Cesar Hernandez. And team officials plan to speak with the Marlins about Starlin Castro, who will be traded from the Yankees in the Stanton deal.
“Another possibility is a reunion with free-agent Neil Walker, whose tenure with the Mets ended last August, when he was traded to the Brewers.”
As Puma added, the team could consider adding a third baseman like Todd Frazier and playing Asdrubal Cabrera at second base. But with so many potential options on the trade market—and Kipnis and Kinsler almost certainly available for the right price—the Mets should be able to address the position via a trade.
Swinging such a trade may not be as sexy as their New York counterparts, the Yankees, landing Giancarlo Stanton, but it would be a solid upgrade for a team looking to return to the postseason in 2018 after missing the 2017 edition.