LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Tigers continue to engage teams in trade talks on second baseman Ian Kinsler. But as they exchange names and swap proposals, it appears increasingly likely they'll have to engage Kinsler before getting a deal done.While the Angels, Mets and Brewers have been linked with
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Tigers continue to engage teams in trade talks on second baseman Ian Kinsler. But as they exchange names and swap proposals, it appears increasingly likely they'll have to engage Kinsler before getting a deal done.
While the Angels, Mets and Brewers have been linked with interest, Kinsler's no-trade clause looms as an issue. His contract, signed when he was with the Rangers, allows him to veto trades to any club on a 10-team list. According to the New York Post, those teams include not only the Angels, Mets and Brewers, but also the Yankees, Dodgers, Giants, Blue Jays, Rays, A's and Padres.
It's probably not a coincidence that the list includes all teams currently with interest and several other potential fits. Kinsler can update the list after each season, and several clubs on the list were reported to have interest at some point over the past year.
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That doesn't make a deal impossible. The no-trade list doesn't mean Kinsler won't go to any of those clubs. Rather, it allows him the right to refuse a trade to them, giving him leverage in a trade scenario.
The Dodgers were previously on Kinsler's no-trade list, an issue that came up last offseason. At that point, Kinsler wanted Los Angeles to pick up his contract option for 2018 and maybe kick him more money beyond that. No trade came together, and Kinsler stayed in Detroit for '17, eventually vesting his $11 million with 600 plate appearances.
The 35-year-old Kinsler will be a free agent next offseason, with no contract option years remaining.
Asked Tuesday if Kinsler's no-trade clause could be an hurdle, general manager Al Avila said, "I hope not."
As of Tuesday night, however, Avila hadn't talked with Kinsler about a potential deal since season's end. Assistant general manager David Chadd contacted Kinsler's agent, Jay Franklin, earlier this week to update him on teams with interest.
"In my past conversations with Ian, I know that he would prefer to play on a contending team that had a chance," Avila said. "But if that weren't the case, then he'd go through the process, be a good teammate and do what you have to do. That's not to say something couldn't happen during the season. I think he would be open-minded to it, but until it happens, you don't know."
Avila had to handle another veteran player's no-trade rights in August, when he had an agreement to trade Justin Verlander to the Astros in the final hour before the deadline for players to be moved and be eligible for postseason rosters. Verlander had veto rights on any trade and was initially cautious about going to Houston, but he eventually accepted a deal after talking with Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel.
Another deal made the same day as Verlander's could very well help the Tigers move Kinsler. Detroit traded outfielder Justin Upton that day to the Angels, who signed him to an extension at season's end. Upton and Kinsler had lockers next to each other in the Tigers' clubhouse, and they became good friends over Upton's two seasons in Detroit.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.