If the Tigers and Dodgers want to work out a trade for Ian Kinsler, they’re going to have to meet the second baseman’s requirement. Kinsler will only waive his no-trade clause if the Dodgers offer him an extension according to Kinsler’s agent, Jay Franklin.
After rumors started surfacing Wednesday afternoon that the Dodgers and Tigers were working out a deal involving Kinsler, Franklin was quick to quiet them before they got too far:
“If one of the 10 teams happens to call and wants to talk about [a trade], we’re open to talking about it. [But] they’re going to have to extend [Kinsler] for us to waive the no-trade clause.”
Kinsler’s limited no-trade clause entails that he is allowed to veto a trade to ten teams he has listed, and the Dodgers are reportedly on that list. Of course, Franklin’s quote clearly shows Kinsler’s willingness to work with trade talks, though under the terms he has worked out in his current contract.
Kinsler is coming off of one of his best seasons yet; especially at the plate. In 2016, Kinsler was worth 5.8 FanGraphs’ WAR, saving 10.6 runs with his defense and hitting 23 percent better than the league average by wRC+. That’s his highest WAR total since 2011, when he had the exact same wRC+.
The 34-year-old second baseman is going into his last season under a guaranteed contract. In 2017, Kinsler will make $11 million and he has a 2018 team option worth $10 million that would cost $5 million to buyout—which likely guarantees that it is picked up. Considering Kinsler was worth $46.3 million in value by FanGraphs’ $/WAR, it makes sense that he would want to leverage his contract rights to ensure a fair deal for himself.
The Dodgers placed 11th among National League teams by FanGraphs’ WAR, only ahead of the Pirates, Brewers, Reds, and Braves. While Chase Utley helped contribute literally all of the positive value that came from the position, he is now a free agent. Currently, nobody sits at the top of their depth chart at second base. However, Charlie Culberson, Chris Taylor, and Austin Barnes combined for 167 plate appearances at second base and are all under team control for 2017. That being said, they all hovered around replacement level and Kinsler would represent a substantial upgrade.