ASU alumnus Ian Kinsler needs to find a new home

Kinsler is running out of chances to win a World Series ring

It’s time for Ian Kinsler to get out of Detroit.

The former Sun Devil infielder and current Tigers second baseman is in the twilight of his career and has yet to be part of a World Series-winning team at the major league level.

Kinsler did not win a championship during his lone year at ASU in 2002 alongside ASU Hall of Fame teammates Dustin Pedroia and Andre Ethier, and the Texas Rangers lost back-to-back Fall Classics in 2010 and 2011 when Kinsler was with the franchise. 

If he wants any opportunity to capture the World Series ring that has eluded him, the time is now for Kinsler to find a new ball club. 

The Detroit Tigers are entering a long-overdue rebuilding period where they will be looking to shed salary and acquire young talent over the next few years. While Kinsler is a valuable member of the current team, he is a luxury the Tigers simply cannot afford. 

Kinsler is not the player he once was, but still provides above-average hitting capabilities, with a 0.273 career batting average and Gold Glove-caliber defense at second base.

“Kinsler had provided several valuable pieces for the Tigers since his arrival offensively, defensively, and maybe most importantly, off the field, as well,” Ashley MacLennan, writer and editor for SB Nation's Bless You Boys, wrote in an email. “He's the kind of player who gets overlooked by outsiders, but whose value is incalculable to the team he's on.”

The question then arises as to where Kinsler could go. He has an extensive no-trade clause in his contract that allows him to void trades to certain teams. He also has one year remaining on his current contract, so he cannot sign with another team until next offseason.  

The Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays are two teams that could use a player like Kinsler to make them more competitive in 2018, and they now have the assets to trade for him. 

“The Brewers would be a smart fit, and they showed a lot of interest in him ahead of the trade deadline in 2017,” MacLennan wrote. “(The Rays also) need a reliable second baseman, and their farm system has such incredible depth the Tigers wouldn't need to get a top 10 prospect in order to get a quality return.”

Detroit has already solidified the No. 1 pick in next year’s June amateur draft, so they will most likely be competing for the worst record in baseball rather than battling for a postseason berth in 2018. 

A trade to either the Brewers, Rays or another team could afford Kinsler the opportunity to play meaningful baseball next year before choosing where he signs afterward. 

“I think the Tigers will do everything they can to turn Kinsler for a prospect return this offseason,” MacLennan wrote. “The benefit to keeping him on the team would be the role he could play as an elder statesman, helping shape a new generation of Tigers players through the early stages of what will be a painful rebuild for the team. 

"He has a natural leadership quality to him that would also help bridge the gap between the team's new manager and the players.”

Kinsler probably will not find himself in Cooperstown after he calls it a career, but, as one of the more underrated players of the last decade, a World Series ring would be nice a nice addition to his trophy case. 

“He's a throwback to a kind of player who simply doesn't seem to exist as much anymore – there's a very classic 70s vibe to his character,” MacLennan wrote. “Ultimately, he's the kind of guy we'll see come back in 10 years, lead a scrappy team to victory, and he'll get a Manager of the Year award out of it.” 

If a deal can be made where the Tigers can send Kinsler and his contract to a better team while getting a solid prospect in return, they need to pull the trigger. It would be a win-win situation for both parties.


Reach the columnist at Steven.Slobodzian@asu.edu or follow @PSlobodzianASU on Twitter.

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Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors. 

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