The 35-year-old Kinsler just wrapped up the worst season of his major league career. His OPS+ of 90 across 551 at-bats in 2017 was far below his career average of 109. After he hit .288 with 28 home runs and 83 RBIs in 2016, Kinsler saw his average drop to .236 with 22 home runs and 52 RBIs.
The right-handed second baseman will enter the final year of his contract and will make $11 million in 2018. The price tag associated with acquiring Kinsler should give teams pause. He showed signs of declining and his best days appear behind him.
But the 12-year veteran was one of the most consistent position players in the game. Kinsler’s 113 wRC+ from 2008-2016 ranked 10th among all second basemen according to FanGraphs, and his 55.0 WAR over his 12 seasons ranks 12th among active players in baseball and eighth among position players, according to Baseball Reference.
From 2008 to 2016, Kinsler was arguably the best defensive second baseman in baseball. His 101 Defensive Runs Saved ranked first among players at his position and tied for fourth in all of baseball with outfielder Alex Gordon. Despite a down year at the plate in 2017, Kinsler’s 6 DRS ranked second among all second baseman behind DJ LeMahieu of the Colorado Rockies (8), according to FanGraphs.
The Angels, who were surprise contenders in 2017 and appear ready to contend again next season, could use an upgrade at second base. Six players combined for a 60 wRC+, tied with the Rangers for the worst mark in baseball at the position. Kaleb Cowart‘s 89 wRC+ across 50 games was the best Los Angeles could do. The Angels cannot afford to waste Mike Trout‘s prime and the rest of Albert Pujols contract rebuilding. Kinsler’s veteran leadership and playoff experience would help the Angeles and maybe a return to the American League West would help him find his hitting stroke.
The Mets could also use a second baseman. None of the Mets’ current options have proven themselves as regular contributors and Asdrubal Cabrera is expected to play at third. Morosi also said some teams are considering Kinsler as an option at third base and he does have a partial no-trade clause in his contract, but it would not be a surprise to see him waive it to join a team with a chance to compete.