The Los Angeles Angels are coming off an inspiring 80-82 season -- inspiring because they were close to making the postseason despite Mike Trout and Garrett Richards each missing significant time and Albert Pujols decaying into one of baseball's worst regulars.
Predictably, the Angels have their eyes on achieving more than moral victories in 2018. So far, that has meant re-signing Justin Upton to a long-term deal. The next item on general manager Billy Eppler's list? Finding a new second baseman. Eppler is reportedly interested in a number of free agents, including Neil Walker and Zack Cozart (who would have to change from shortstop):
The L.A. Angels, who have been interested in Kinsler since late last season, have been having extensive internal discussions about acquiring the veteran, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation. It's unclear if the Angels have communicated directly with the Tigers about acquiring Kinsler this offseason, and a move does not appear to be imminent. .
Eppler's hunt for a second baseman is smart. In 2017, the Angels got a .601 OPS out of the keystone, the worst of any position in the lineup. Danny Espinosa received most of the playing time there and faltered, and in-season additions like Brandon Phillips and Nick Franklin didn't do much better. Any of the veterans listed above -- even Kinsler, who had a career-worst season in Detroit -- would represent an upgrade over what the Angels got from the position last season.
Of course, that doesn't mean the Angels will land any of Walker, Cozart or Kinsler. It does mean, however, that there's a low bar to clear -- and that means the Angels stand a good chance of acquiring an upgrade, be it through free agency or trade.