With Dustin Pedroia still nursing his ailing knee, the Red Sox have traded for some second base depth. A late night deal brings Ian Kinsler to Fenway Park.
Before Blake Swihart‘s jersey could dry from the walk-off win celebration at Fenway tonight, news of a trade hit the internet. No, Swihart isn’t going anywhere (at least not yet). But veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler will be donning a blue cap with a red B on it soon. Ken Rosenthal broke the news on Twitter, answering one of the biggest questions Sox fans have had this summer: Will the team trade for infield help? The answer, of course, is yes. The Angels will be sending $1.8M of the remaining $3.6M still due to Kinsler for this season.
The return is two AAA relievers in Williams Jerez and Ty Buttrey. Both Jerez and Buttrey have had plenty of success out of the pen. Jerez has a 3.68 ERA with 11.75 K/9 this season. Buttrey is sitting on an encouraging 2.25 ERA and a 13.09 K/9. While Jerez has a little trouble avoiding the walk, Buttrey has not. He’s managed a 2.86 BB/9. Given the difficulties the Boston bullpen has had this season, it might be a bit surprising to see two of their better minor league relievers sent off in a trade for an infielder. So this might indicate that the team is close to a deal for a late inning arm as well.
What are the Red Sox getting?
Ian Kinsler’s bat has fluctuated between average and above average for most of his career. He had a career high 133 wRC+ in 2008 and has reached 123 twice since. The most recent of those seasons was in 2016. He followed that year with a 91, however, but is at 97 on the year so far this season. He also has 13 HR and 9 SB to go with his .239/.304/.406 slash line. The bat is good at this stage of his career, but it’s not great. His wRC+ ranks 12th in the majors this season among second baseman, and his HR total is tied for 8th. And while single season samples of WAR are problematic, he has amassed 2.0 fWAR already putting him on pace for 3.0 on the season. That’s a comfortably above average player.
That’s due to the fact that while his bat has likely slowed up a touch, his glove does not appear to have followed suit. While requiring a grain of salt, his URZ sits at an impressive 7.9 so far this season. It takes three years for UZR to stabilize, however, so we’ll go back a bit further. Since the start of the 2016 season he has massed 19.5 UZR. That’s an average of 6.5 per season even if he stopped playing today. While this isn’t an exact science, it’s safe to say that Ian Kinsler brings a plus glove to the table. In fact, the total package appears to be something similar to what the Red Sox were hoping Dustin Pedroia would give them when he returned from rehabbing his surgically repaired knee. This trade also means that Brock Holt can go back to what Brock Holt does best, which is being the super utility player.
Whether or not the Red Sox are done making moves for this deadline remains to be seen. This likely takes the Adrian Beltre option off the table, at least. Will Kinsler be enough to keep the Red Sox on top in the A.L. East? Will Dave Dombrowski pick up additional help tomorrow? Let us know what you think in the comments!