LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- While the Tigers keep listening to trade interest on Michael Fulmer, they're doing more than that on Ian Kinsler. And as the Winter Meetings continue, they're getting closer to a trade to send their veteran second baseman to a contending team.
"We've gotten to the point where names have been exchanged," general manager Al Avila said Tuesday. "We just can't agree."
The Tigers have been at that point before with Kinsler in trade efforts that have been off and on since last offseason. With the Tigers now in full rebuilding mode, however, and Kinsler entering the final year of his contract, there's an end in sight.
Avila said the Tigers are still talking with a couple teams on Kinsler, some of the same teams that have been interested in Kinsler for a while. Avila has not specified teams, but the Angels, Mets and Brewers have been linked at various points to interest in Kinsler since last summer. But while the Mets have reportedly shown heavy interest this offseason, there's cynicism about a deal given their lack of prospect depth. Same goes for the Brewers, despite a well-regarded farm system that's reportedly deep in hitters.
The Angels could well end up a logical fit, despite a farm system that is not particularly deep. The Angels had interest in Kinsler last summer before acquiring Brandon Phillips, who's now a free agent. The Tigers have matched up on two trades since the start of last offseason and three trades since Billy Eppler became Angels general manager following the 2015 season. The last Tigers-Angels trade was Justin Upton, one of Kinsler's close friends on the Tigers.
Kinsler has a partial no-trade clause that allows him to list 10 teams to which he can block deals, a list he can update immediately after every season. Avila said his talk with Kinsler at season's end suggested Kinsler would prefer to play on a contending team if he were to be traded, but talks haven't reached the point where Avila has reached out to Kinsler since then. The Tigers talked with Kinsler's agent before the Winter Meetings began to update him on potential interest.
Asked if Kinsler's no-trade rights could pose an obstacle to a deal, Avila said, "I hope not."
Elsewhere on the Tigers' trade front:
• Closer Shane Greene has drawn trade interest, Avila said, "but not to the point where we felt it was a good thing to do."
• Avila expects Jose Iglesias to stay put and open next season as the Tigers' shortstop. Trade interest in Iglesias has been minimal, like last offseason.
• Rookie reliever Joe Jimenez is working out at the Tigers' Spring Training facility in nearby Lakeland, and has lost 20-25 pounds since season's end, according to player development director Dave Littlefield.
"He was at point where we actually were concerned," Avila said. "We put him on a program, and he's following it to a 'T.'"