The Los Angeles Dodgers spent much of the 2016 season using a platoon at second base with left-handed hitter Chase Utley starting against right-handed pitchers and right-handed batter Howie Kendrick starting against left-handed pitchers. Now, the Dodgers are looking for someone who can man the position on an everyday basis as Utley’s contract has expired and Kendrick has been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.
One of the potential options that Dodgers president and general manager Farhan Zaidi are considering is Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler. Kinsler has one year remaining on a five-year, $75 million contract that he signed with the Texas Rangers prior to the 2013 season. He also has a club option worth $10 million for the 2018 season that has a $5 million buyout attached to it.
— Vincent Samperio (@VinceSamperio) November 10, 2016
Despite turning 34-years-old in June, Kinsler put up another impressive year at the plate for the Tigers in 2016. Ian hit.288 with a.348 OBP, 28 home runs, and 88 RBIs while adding 14 stolen bases and 117 runs scored. Detroit is reportedly looking to trim payroll and get younger and MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Los Angeles Dodgers have an interest in acquiring the second baseman.
After being defeated in the 2016 National League Championship Series by the eventual World Series Champion Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles enters the offseason with a number of roster decisions to make aside from finding a starting second baseman.
Third baseman Justin Turner is a free agent and one of the Dodgers’ biggest offseason targets. In addition to Turner, closer Kenley Jansen, outfielder Josh Reddick, starters Rich Hill and Brett Anderson, relievers J.P. Howell and Joe Blanton, and Utley have all hit the free agent market. Friedman and Zaidi will have some decisions to make this winter.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) November 10, 2016
Corey Seager is entrenched as the starter at shortstop for the next decade while Adrian Gonzalez will likely remain the first baseman in 2017 along with catcher Yasmani Grandal and center fielder Yasiel Puig. That leaves question marks in left field, right field, third base, and second base.
In left field, 24-year-old Andrew Toles would seem to have a leg up unless Friedman is able to acquire an impact player at the position. Toles hit.314 with a.365 OBP, three home runs, and 16 RBIs in 105 at-bats during the regular season for the Dodgers. His success in the second-half of the season led to manager Dave Roberts giving him most the at-bats in left field during the postseason where he hit.364 with a.423 OBP in 22 at-bats.
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) November 9, 2016
Right field will come down to whether the Dodgers want to take one more chance on Yasiel Puig. Puig played so poorly in 2016 that he ended up getting sent down to the minors. While he did look slightly better after returning during September, Yasiel only hit.211 with a.318 OBP in 19 at-bats during the playoffs.
Justin Turner is the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 option at third for the Dodgers. Unless a team gives him an offer he just can’t refuse, there’s almost zero chance that Turner will leave the Dodgers. Justin is from Long Beach and has really found a home in Los Angeles. The move from the Mets to the Dodgers helped to revitalize his career and it’s unlikely that he’ll want to go elsewhere.
Congrats to Ian Kinsler on winning a Gold Glove! This guy is slick! pic.twitter.com/YbbaMTP41U
— Michigan Sports Guy (@SportingNewsMI) November 9, 2016
The bullpen will need to be rebuilt as well, as the Dodgers will either need to re-sign Jansen or find another closer on the market. Re-signing Blanton would make a lot of sense as he was the team’s best reliever outside of Jansen in 2016. Pedro Baez and Luis Avilan will also return, but the rest of the bullpen will need work.
As for the rotation, Clayton Kershaw remains the unequivocal ace with Kenta Maeda and Julio Urias the only guarantees behind him. Scott Kazmir chose to exercise his player option which means he’ll be back, but he battled injuries towards the end of the season. Same with Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy.
Things could potentially look much different for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017 despite making an appearance in the NLCS in 2016 and it may begin with a trade for Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler.
[Featured Image by Leon Halip/Getty Images]