LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Shohei Ohtani wasn’t the last piece of the plan for the Los Angeles Angels.
The Angels have reportedly pulled off a deal to acquire second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Detroit Tigers, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Joel Sherman of the New York Post confirmed the report.
In return, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, the Tigers are getting pitcher Wilkel Hernandez (the Angels’ No. 24 prospect) and centerfielder Troy Montgomery (No. 20).
The move fills an immediate gap for the Angels, who will benefit from Kinsler’s power at the plate and veteran presence on the infield. Kinsler, 35, hit 22 homers last season in Detroit. His .236 batting average, however, was a career low. His career slash line is .273/.342/.447. According to Fangraphs, Kinsler was worth 2.4 Wins Above Replacement last season, down from 5.7 the year before.
Kinsler is under contract for $11 million for 2018, relatively cheap by current MLB standards and will be a free agent for 2019. The Angels, who have perennial MVP candidate Mike Trout, have already re-upped with outfielder Justin Upton for $106 million this offseason, in addition to signing Ohtani, the Japanese star who plays two ways. It seems pretty clear that they think they can make the playoffs next season.
The Angels were a surprise contender last year. They won 80 games and were competitive into September. Second baseman was one of their gaps. They traded for Brandon Phillips mid-season but still had a .206 average (ranking 28th in MLB) and 14 homers (ranking 20th) out of the second-base position. Phillips is now a free agent.
The Tigers, meanwhile, lost 98 games and finished in last place in the AL Central. They sold out some of their good players mid-season (like Upton and Justin Verlander), but this could mean more moves are in store from Detroit this winter.
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