Earlier on Wednesday, word got out the Dodgers and Tigers have discussed a trade involving second baseman Ian Kinsler. Los Angeles needs a second baseman after trading Howie Kendrick, and the Tigers appear to be beginning a rebuild.
Kinsler's contract includes a 10-team no-trade clause, and the Dodgers are one of those 10 teams. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Kinsler is willing to accept a trade to Los Angeles in exchange for a contract extension. From Rosenthal:
If the Tigers want to trade second baseman Ian Kinsler to a team on his limited no-trade list, he only will approve the deal if granted a contract extension, according to his agent, Jay Franklin.
"If one of the 10 teams happens to call and wants to talk about it, we're open to talking about it," Franklin said. "(But) they're going to have to extend him for us to waive the no-trade."
Many players include big-market teams like the Dodgers on their no-trade list for exactly this reason. Big-market teams are most capable -- and usually most willing -- to buy the player out of his no-trade clause with an extension or some other financial incentive.
Kinsler is owed $11 million next season and his contract includes a $12 million club option for 2018. The Rangers originally signed Kinsler to a five-year deal worth $75 million back in 2012, and he has been worth every penny so far. Kinsler is sixth among all players with 22.8 WAR during the first four years of the deal.
The 2016 season was one of Kinsler's best. In addition to winning a Gold Glove, he hit .288/.348/.484 (124 OPS+) with 28 home runs and 14 steals in 153 games. It's obvious why the Dodgers would want him, especially given their complete inability to hit lefties in 2016. The right-handed Kinsler feasts on southpaws.
Kinsler turned 34 in June, so age-related decline has to be a concern for any team deciding whether to offer him an extension in exchange for waiving the no-trade clause. Second basemen have a history of falling off a cliff in their mid-30s a la Roberto Alomar. Kinsler is in the danger zone.
At the same time, Kinsler has every right to demand an extension in exchange for waiving the no-trade clause. That's why it's in the contract. The Rangers agreed to it when he first signed the deal and the Tigers agreed to it when they acquired him. There's nothing wrong with leveraging a no-trade clause into more money.
It remains to be seen whether the Dodgers will move forward with Kinsler trade talks or shift gears and look elsewhere. The Tigers, meanwhile, know there are still 20 teams they could trade Kinsler to without getting his permission.