The 10-year veteran and gold glover Ian Kinsler is now a free agent. Will the Red Sox strike a deal to bring him back?
(Image source: Sept. 2, 2018 – Source: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images North America from Zimbio.com)
When the Red Sox acquired Ian Kinsler, it seemed like a 2nd base move was a luxury. The Red Sox were plugging Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt into 2nd base before the acquisition. Due to an injury to Dustin Pedroia and ineffective play by Rafael Devers, it became clear that 2nd base was going to be an issue. Ian Kinsler became the rental the Red Sox needed to create stability at that position.
The Case for Bringing Kinsler Back
As I mentioned before, Kinsler was a Gold Glove winner in 2018. Kinsler provided a steady hand at 2nd base. He was rated with 10 defensive runs saved over the course of 128 games between the Los Angeles Angels and the Red Sox. Bringing Kinsler back into the fold would allow the Red Sox a veteran insurance policy in case the Red Sox will be without Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia is still working his way back from knee surgery. It has been a rocky road back and the timeline is really unknown. The surgery is relatively new to baseball players.
Kinsler does not hit the same he used to in his days with the Texas Rangers or even the Detroit Tigers, but he can still provide some pop with his 14 home runs and an OPS of .681. He had a down year, but can still provide the Red Sox an adequate bat with good defense to help bridge the gap to Dustin Pedroia, if/when he returns.
The Case Against Ian Kinsler
Do I need to mention the error he made in the World Series?
All kidding aside, bringing Kinsler back would create quite a few middle infielders on the Red Sox roster. There are reports that top prospect Michael Chavis will be working out at 2nd base. The Red Sox already have Pedroia, Tzu Wei Lin, Marco Hernandez, Holt, and Nunez all capable of playing 2nd base. Add in Michael Chavis and Kinsler seems like he would block some others getting a chance.
On top of the positional depth that the Red Sox seem to have, Kinsler’s bat seems to have lost some of what it used to be. Kinsler slashed .240/.301/.380 which are below his career totals of .271/.339/.443 and could be some cause for concern given he will be entering his age 37 season. He adds some pop, as I mentioned, but it is not the same.
The Red Sox should not re-up with the veteran 2nd baseman. There is some value to bringing Ian Kinsler back but it does not make sense. The Red Sox should look at internal options to fill any gap that Pedroia might leave. The resources on a Kinsler contract can be used in a better location where the Red Sox might need some help. I would say if he is taking a contract for small amounts with an invite to Spring, that is perfectly fine. Guaranteeing him a roster spot with the depth that exists makes no sense. He would be a luxury and not a necessity to bridge the gap to old friend Dustin Pedroia.