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MLB trade rumors: Mets interested in Ian Kinsler, Jason Kipnis

New York is looking to upgrade their middle infield this winter.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Colorado Rockies
Tigers’ Ian Kinsler struggled to a .725 OPS in 2017.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

While the Yankees may have made the biggest move of the day in New York in acquiring Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins, reports out of Newsday’s Marc Carig indicate the Mets have expressed interest in the TigersIan Kinsler and the IndiansJason Kipnis this winter:

New York dealt second baseman Neil Walker to the Brewers in August, leaving a vacant spot in the middle infield that was filled primarily by veteran Jose Reyes. Reyes, now an unrestricted free agent, has the Mets searching for an upgrade in 2018.

Both Kinsler and Kipnis struggled offensively in 2017. Kinsler, 35, managed just a .725 OPS as the leadoff hitter for the lowly Tigers last season, the lowest mark of his twelve-year career. 2018 will mark the final season of Kinsler’s 5-year/$75 million extension signed in 2013 with the Rangers. The $11 million owed to Kinsler next season may turn clubs away from the four-time All-Star, though Detroit may be willing to absorb some of the cost in a potential deal.

With the emergence of superstar Jose Ramirez as the second baseman of the future in Cleveland, Kipnis spent most of 2018 in center field—a position he had never played in his seven-year MLB career. Working through injuries and a new defensive assignment, Kipnis’ numbers plummetted far below career norms. Across 336 PAs in 2017, the two-time All-Star produced a meager .232/.291/.414 slashline, good for just a 81 OPS+. Kipnis does come with more team control than Kinsler; the Chicago native has two seasons left on his 6-year/$52 million contract (which includes a $16.5 million club option for 2020).