The Milwaukee Brewers have led the NL Central for the majority of this season and are looking like they will continue to fight for the division crown and a playoff spot down the home stretch of the regular season. That being said, the Brewers are still a trade or two away from competing with the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs after the recent acquisition of Jose Quintana. There’s a rumor out there about the Brew Crew that has peaked my attention, and that is the interest from young General Manager David Stearns and his baseball operations team in trading for Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler.
The Brewers seemingly came out of nowhere this year led by third baseman Travis Shaw acquired in a steal of a trade from Boston, Eric Thames the slugger from the Korean League, the veteran Ryan Braun, an elite closer in Corey Knebel who broke onto the scene this season himself and a rotation that keeps their lineup in each and every game. Ian Kinsler is exactly what a team like the Brewers could use to make a run this season and guide Milwuakee fans back to the postseason.
The All-Star second baseman is slashing .247/.331/.400 with 9 HR’s, 28 RBI’s and 16 doubles over 80 games this season for the Detroit Tigers who are about to blow the entire team up. The 35-year-old Kinsler is a gold glove caliber defender and adding him to the top of the Brewers lineup would give Manager Craig Counsell a veteran second baseman he can pencil in and rely on each and every game. A trade for Kinsler would also allow the struggling Jonathan Villar to move back to a utility role, giving Milwaukee another added weapon off the bench or in the outfield.
Ian Kinsler can also provide more than just elite defense and veteran leadership as although he has scuffled at times at the dish this season, he has the knack of coming up big when the lights shine the brightest. Kinsler is a career .291/.400/.448 hitter in the postseason during his time with both Detroit and the Texas Rangers with 4 HRs and 20 RBIs in 37 games. Kinsler also showed some of his big-game ability early this spring as a member of Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Kinsler started all the big games at second over the likes of Daniel Murphy down the stretch and provided the go-ahead two-run home run in the clinching game of the Classic over Puerto Rico as seen in the following video.
Kinsler’s leadership came through for Team USA and would bring the same to the table at Miller Park. Here’s what Kinsler said about the huge win for USA over Puerto Rico after the championship game, “It’s a huge win for American baseball. It was just a great tournament. I think after the fact, tomorrow, the next day, the next day after that, we’ll start to realize what we accomplished as a group so quickly, to come together so quickly.”
The best part for the Brewers is the contract of Kinsler, a deal that was front-loaded by Texas when the second baseman was extended is now very reasonable especially for a team that is competing with one of the lowest payrolls in the Major Leagues. Kinsler is making $11 million this season and has an option for 2018 worth a bargain of $10 million with a $5 million buyout. Talk about a steal for a guy that hit 28 homers and drove in 83 runners in 2016 while slashing .288/.348/.484 and winning the gold glove award in 2016.
Milwaukee has also reportedly “kicked the tires” on two other Tigers on the market including former Cy Young Award winner and MVP Justin Verlander and hard-throwing left-handed closer Justin Wilson. Perhaps Stearns is trying to finagle a blockbuster deal for the Brewers, but acquiring Verlander with the amount of money left on his contract is a long shot, and Wilson would take a slew of top prospects to land. Kinsler is the deal that is within reach both from the personnel and financial perspective.
If the Brewers are serious about contending this season, they will strike a deal with Detroit for Ian Kinsler.
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