The Mets have targeted the keystone as a point of interest to improve upon this offseason.
However, the free agent market for the position doesn’t yield any sexy names. New York could potentially reunite with Neil Walker, but that ship seems to have sailed. Eduardo Nunez has played second in the past, but figures to spend more time at the hot corner going forward.
Beyond that, the only other choices that are out there are Howie Kendrick, who spent this past season in a reserve role for the Washington Nationals and the over-the-hill Brandon Phillips and Chase Utley.
If the Mets decide they want to get external help at second base and have Wilmer Flores and T.J. Rivera in different roles, there are a few names the team could potentially target on the trade market.
Ian Kinsler has an option on his contract that vested when he reached the 600 at-bat plateau. So he won’t be hitting the open market this year.
However, the Tigers who are looking to change the tone in Detroit dismissed Brad Ausmus at the conclusion of the season and have slowly dismantled their team.
Kinsler is one of them, as the Tigers will look to sell the second baseman this offseason.
The 35-year-old is having a down year at the plate hitting just .236/.313/.412 this season with a 92 wRC+ and .313 wOBA. However, he has some pop left in his bat, launching 22 homers and driving in 52 runs.
The four-time All-Star also remains healthy year in and year out. He has appeared in 100+ games every year of his 12 year big league career.
His advanced fielding metrics are also very solid even at his age. He has 6 DRS and a 6.2 UZR while being good for 2.2 WAR.
The Mets have lost a lot of home runs and are one of the youngest teams in baseball. Bringing in a player like Kinsler who has been around the game for a long time would do wonders for New York.
Dee Gordon, 29, would be a nice fit for the Mets, who have seriously lacked speed the last several seasons and have relied on a committee of players at the keystone since Daniel Murphy took his talents to Washington.
In 158 games for Miami in 2017, Gordon hit .308/.341/.375 with two homers and 33 RBI in 695 plate appearances. He also had a 92 wRC+, .312 wOBA and was good for 3.1 WAR, while swiping 60 bags.
In the field, he committed 12 errors in 1,293.1 innings while being good for 3 DRS and a 6.4 UZR.
The two-time All-Star is signed through the 2020 campaign with a club option for 2021. He is slated to make $10.8 million in 2018, before seeing boosts in his pay day the following seasons, making $13.3 million in 2019 and $13.8 million in his final year.
The new Marlins ownership is looking to strip payroll down to the $90 million range and with Gordon’s contract one of the biggest on the payroll, the team figures to try and move him.
The year 2017 wasn’t the sharpest of Jason Kipnis‘s career, as the second baseman appeared in just 90 games and hit to a .232/.291/.414 clip in 373 plate appearances.
As a result of this, the Cleveland Indians could choose to shop Kipnis this offseason. Joel Sherman of the New York Post believes the Mets could be interested in his services.
“He has either two years at $30.5 million or (if his 2020 option is picked up) three years at $44.5 million,” Sherman said in his column. “Cleveland is a win-now team, yet still always has to worry about what is now a larger payroll than ever before. One NL executive said he thought the Indians were very open to moving Kipnis and might even eat dollars to do so.
“The Mets do not have a ton of financial wiggle room or trade commodities. Gsellman and Seth Lugo will probably intrigue analytic-leaning teams that see mostly untapped upside potential there if their stuff is deployed in a different way. Lugo, though, has a chronic elbow issue that lowers his trade value.”
For his career, he is a .268/.340/.422 hitter in 3,737 plate appearances with 88 long balls and 389 RBI. In his last full season in 2016, he also had a 116 wRC+ and a .347 wOBA.
In 620 innings at the keystone in 2017, the 30-year old Kipnis had seven errors with -2 DRS and a -1.5 UZR. However, the year prior his advanced metrics were better, with 4 DRS and a 7.3 UZR in 1,309 innings.