Heading into the offseason, one of the Detroit Tigers biggest needs was a shortstop.
Well, according to reports, they have their guy as Jordy Mercer has agreed to a deal with the team.
Sources: #Tigers and Jordy Mercer are close to finalizing a 1-year contract. @jonheyman has reported the deal is done. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 12, 2018
Mercer, who is 32, has spent his entire 7-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. During that time he hit .256 with 55 home runs and 277 RBIs.
In 2018, he hit .251 with six home runs and 39 RBIs in 117 games.
Could this former All-Star return to the Detroit Tigers?
The 2018 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings are officially underway, which means the rumors will be flying around for the next few days.
For the Detroit Tigers, adding a shortstop during the offseason is priority No. 1 but general manager Al Avila has said the team will also be open to adding a second baseman if it makes sense.
As it stands, Dawel Lugo is probably the odds-on favorite to land the starting second baseman job out of Spring Training, but at just 23 years of age, he could probably use a bit of seasoning.
So, which second baseman could the Tigers bring in, not only to bridge the gap but to potentially deal at the 2019 Major League Baseball trade deadline?
According to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, the right man for the job could be former Tigers All-Star and Gold Glove winner, Ian Kinsler.
From Detroit Free Press:
Kinsler, 36, has been a winning player for the past decade, and now he finally has a World Series championship ring to show for it. Said one Red Sox executive about Kinsler’s contributions down the stretch last season, “He was really good for us.”
How did the Red Sox land Kinsler? In a July 30 trade with the Angels for a pair of pitching prospects.
Kinsler is a veteran player who should be very tradeable, especially if his offensive improvement from the second half carries over this season. He struggled in the first half with Los Angeles, but after finding his stride near midseason, he hit .282 in the second half with his customary quality defense at second base. Last season, Kinsler won the American League Gold Glove Award at second base, the second of his career.
Kinsler is almost certainly being considered by contending teams who need a second baseman. He could still be riding high on a World Series win in Boston and not particularly interested in re-joining the Tigers’ rebuilding efforts after he was given a reprieve at these Winter Meetings last year.
Fenech noted that though Kinsler’s best days are clearly behind him, he is still a solid player who can still handle himself in the field.
Kinsler’s best playing days are behind him, sure, but he’s still a very good baseball player. And if the Tigers are looking for a glove-first shortstop, then at worst, Kinsler is a glove-first second baseman with much more of an offensive track record than any of the shortstops under consideration.