UPDATE (6:45 PM): Milwaukee and Detroit are “engaged in ongoing discussions” about a package deal for Wilson and Kinsler, according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. Morosi notes that a deal is not imminent.
The Brewers already made one bullpen deal, acquiring White Sox reliever Anthony Swarzak on Tuesday night.
ORIGINAL: According to an ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Tigers have tried to trade second baseman Ian Kinsler and closer Justin Wilson in the same deal to the Brewers, in order to “move a veteran salary” (Kinsler’s) while also getting notable prospects for Wilson.
It’s no secret that the Brewers could use help out of the bullpen—besides dominant closer Corey Knebel, the relief corps in Milwaukee has only one member with an ERA below 3.00, and that’s sinker-specialist Jared Hughes, who doesn’t possess dominant stuff. The team has been highly reliant on rookie Jacob Barnes, who has battled some inconsistencies, and has also handed 86 innings to Oliver Drake and Carlos Torres, who have combined to yield an unsightly 4.87 ERA. Also of note, the bullpen currently has just one lefty: rookie Josh Hader. Wilson and his 2.82 ERA, 12.7 K/9 and 0.965 WHIP would definitely prove to be an upgrade to that group.
Kinsler’s situation is a bit more complicated. He’s slumped to a 96 OPS+ this season, and even if his contract option is bought out (which is unlikely, as he reportedly would not waive his no-trade clause without an extension), he’d be due about $10 million from his new team (about $5 million for the rest of this season, $5 million for the buyout). However, his still-solid defense has buoyed him to a 2.0 WAR, and since the beginning of May his offense has been above league average.
That being said, the addition of Kinsler would almost certainly lead to a lesser prospect package for Detroit, perhaps especially from the Brewers, whose contention window is just opening, with many of their prospects a part of that projected future core.
Wilson seems like a certainty to be traded, to the Brewers or another team, because he’s at the height of his value and the Tigers are starting to tear down. But, what becomes of Kinsler remains to be seen.