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Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Angels Add Kinsler, Which Is Not *Not* A Problem

Ian Kinsler had the worst year of his MLB career at the plate in 2017, producing just a 91 wRC+, and yet was still worth 2.1 wins per Baseball Reference, and 2.7 per FanGraphs. He has just been dealt to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Right now FanGraphs’ depth charts are projecting the Angels to be worth 35.5 WAR in 2017, the fifth highest number in the American League. The Blue Jays are sixth, with a projection of 34.6 WAR.

The Angels’ projection doesn’t include anything yet from Shohei Ohtani, nor from Kinsler — who, at a 2.7 WAR projection, compared to incumbent second baseman Kaleb Cowart, who FanGraphs pencils in for 595 plate appearances and 0.7 WAR — would push them up another two wins. If we’re reasonably conservative on Ohtani, the Angels are probably five wins better than the Jays right now.

Now, sure, these projections aren’t the be-all, end all. But they’re a pretty good shorthand for where the strength of each team’s roster is at right now, and with a couple more wins expected out in Anaheim — and Kinsler, whose BABIP was a career low .244 in 2017 (his career mark is .286), capable of being even better than that — comes very close to requiring a response from the Jays if their outlook for 2018 is going to move beyond pointless.

Of course, barring a sudden pivot the Jays will do something (and before you ask, no, it wasn’t likely going to be Kinsler, who used his no-trade to block a deal to Toronto years ago, and will be waiving that right to go to Anaheim — it probably wasn’t going to happen, even if they did meet the price). With Kinsler off the market, an infield suitor now out of the market, maybe that something happens soon.

Dominoes are starting to fall.

UPDATE: And perhaps another reason to move will happen in tandem with this one (which, after some time in limbo, has now been confirmed):

Headley has been worth a couple wins in each of the last three years with the Yankees, though of that was powered by a .341 BABIP that pushed him to a 104 wRC+ this year. The previous two years he was at just 92 wRC+, and with better defensive numbers than 2017. So… maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. But he’s yet another piece. He’s projected to 1.3 WAR by FanGraphs and an 89 wRC+, which is actually below what they have Luis Valbuena pegged for. Still, though, they’re pushing ahead of the Jays. (At the very least in Nightengale’s estimation, for whatever that’s worth.)

So, there’s that…

  • The Humungus

    Future Blue Jay Jason Kipnis is potentially a lot closer to being current Blue Jay Jason Kipnis.

    I’m fine with this. Trade Panone and Taylor back to Cleveland for him. Or whatever. Do stuff.

    • Nice Guy Eddie

      Yeah, just doing ‘stuff’ for the purpose of ‘doing stuff’ sounds like a real plan. We have Panone and Taylor because the FO was smart in acquiring Smith last offseason (though his willingness to come to Canada last year was bc he wasn’t in high demand) and trading him for Panone and Smith. They do smart things, not just to ‘do stuff’.

      • The Humungus

        It was sarcasm.

        Although, I’d be lying if I said there isn’t a small part of me that’s afraid that they jumped on the market too early last year (admittedly, they’ve said as much in hindsight), and are going to wait too long to do something this year so they don’t make the wrong move.

  • Terry Mesmer

    The Angels seem to have major injuries/inconsistencies in their rotation every year. They have been so desperate, they traded FOR Ricky Nolasco. I won’t worry about the Angels until their (young and admittedly intriguing) starters are healthy.

  • Gideon Clarke

    The prospects changing hands so far this off-season haven’t been outstanding — the Marlins in particular couldn’t pry the elite talent from the Yankees’ or Cardinals’ farm systems for Stanton or Ozuna. If Yelich could somehow be acquired for Pillar, Tepera, and any three prospects in the 5 to 10 range — say Zeuch, Urena, and Danner — that would be pretty nice. Sure couldn’t hurt to try, given the Marlins’ front office team seems overmatched right now.

    • Nice Guy Eddie

      Urena ihas no trade value. Stanton’s return was because it wasn’t a talent trade it was a salary dump of almost 300 million. A trade for Yelich BEGINS with Alford and Bichette. Add Zeuch and Borucki and you might have a package that would get some interest. And might not. They may need Guerrero.

      • The Humungus

        I’m convinced it costs less than that if they take on the rest of Prado’s contract (2yrs, $28.5M). Plus, Prado can play 3B, 2B and LF, even if he was hurt last year.

  • Player to Be Named Later

    The At the Letters Podcast was pointing out that the Jays were one of only about 3 teams who seem to be prioritizing middle infielders at the moment, with the Angels being one of the others. So this domino falling kinda helps the Jays, who may be able to negotiate with a number of teams who are all looking to move an IF: Phillies (Cesar Hernandez — yes please!), Padres (Solarte), Brewers (Villar). And with free agent options out there as well (e.g. Nunez) they could be in a good negotiating position. Anyway, this was Zwelling’s and Nicholson-Smith’s position. And if – just if – there’s anything to the possibility that Devon Travis could be moved to the OF, then it might be a creative, cost-effective way to address a corner OF spot. (Dear Santa: All I want for Xmas is 150 games of a healthy Devon Travis!)

  • El Cabeza

    Anybody know of any comparisons people have done with Zips/FG team WAR projections pre-season versus the actual results? Curious how accurate they tend be.

  • Jonathan Reimer

    Read a great article about the Mariners. Made me realize that their rebuild effort is much like the Blue Jays, in that there is a core group of positional players that are aging and expensive. When I compare the efforts that Jays FO has taken to rebuild/retool while staying competitive with what the Mariners have done, it is dissapointing. Lots of analysis and very little action. Give this a read: https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/mariners/should-the-mariners-start-over-with-their-roster-gm-jerry-dipoto-says-he-already-has-with-a-twist/