Should the Red Sox Keep Ian Kinsler?
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Ian Kinsler may be one of the top ten-second basemen of the 2000s, and after 13 years in the big leagues, he found his way to the Boston Red Sox.
Boston acquired the former Los Angeles Angels star for prospects Ty Buttrey and Williams Jerez earlier this season. Since then, Kinsler showed strength at second base. Kinsler is on the last year of his contract and will soon enter free agency, which begs the question, should the Red Sox try to keep Kinsler?
Despite how Kinsler’s stats may look, he’s not had a bad year. He may be batting .240/.301/.380 with both the Angels and Red Sox this season, but he has also hit 14 home runs and has only struck out 64 times over his 128 games this season.
Kinsler is known for being a guy who doesn’t strike out and can get the ball in play. In 2013, Kinsler had a 9.6 percent strikeout percentage and has the seventh lowest strikeout percentage in the American League this season, with 12 percent. While Kinsler may only have a .250 BAbip—batting average of balls in play—this season, his BAbip with the Red Sox is .287, mirroring his career numbers of .283.
The Gold Glove winner has been helpful on the field as well. Kinsler has the fifth-best fielding percentage in the American League at .983, only five points behind his Gold Glove season. Kinsler is also known to steal bases—he stole 44 bags in his last three seasons.
Kinsler’s return depends on the health of longtime second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The Red Sox expected Pedroia to be fully healthy for this season but he missed the season after continued problems with his knee. Pedroia is expected to be fully healthy for next year, but after supposedly being ready for this season, it’s unknown how the 2019 season could turn out for Pedroia.
Even if Pedroia returns in great condition in 2019, I believe that Kinsler should still be a target for the Red Sox during the offseason. Kinsler would be good to have on the bench if Pedroia lands back on the disabled list or just needs a day off from the field.