After trading Justin Verlander and Justin Upton on Aug. 31, Tigers general manager Al Avila reiterated to MLB Network last week that his team remains in "full rebuild" mode.
The Tigers' next step could be dealing Ian Kinsler.
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The Angels and Mets are among the teams that have had at least preliminary conversations with the Tigers on a deal for Kinsler, sources told MLB.com Monday.
While the Angels and Mets have needs at second base -- where Kinsler is a four-time All-Star -- at least two other teams have shown interest in him playing third base, according to sources.
Kinsler, 35, is an appealing trade candidate, despite coming off his worst offensive season. During his four years with Detroit, covering his age-32 through age-35 seasons, he ranks fourth in the Majors in OPS+ (107) among second basemen with at least 500 starts at the position over that span. He is under contract for one more season with an $11 million base salary.
Kinsler has a no-trade clause that allows him to block deals to 10 teams and has adjusted the list since the end of this past season, one source said. Kinsler has not made clear whether he intends to use the no-trade clause as leverage to negotiate a contract extension with a new team, or block a move to a club that intends to use him at third base. An intense desire to win the World Series -- something Kinsler came within one strike of doing in 2011 with the Rangers -- could override those considerations.
Kinsler acknowledged to MLB.com late in the 2017 season that his focus waned as the Tigers fell out of the pennant race. He has seemed unenthusiastic about remaining in Detroit through a rebuild -- which is clearly underway.
The Angels are perhaps the most logical fit of all for Kinsler, a career American Leaguer who became a star in the AL West with the Rangers. Angels second basemen combined for a .601 OPS in 2017, the lowest mark in the Majors. Six players started at the position for manager Mike Scioscia; Kaleb Cowart, the top internal candidate for now, produced a .695 OPS in 50 games.
The Mets, meanwhile, also have a clear opening at second base after Neil Walker was traded in August. While the team retained Asdrubal Cabrera, he's expected to start at third unless David Wright makes a dramatic comeback.