Willie Mays turns 80

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Today is Willie Mays’ 80th birthday.  The occasion has brought forth a ton of remembrances of the man’s career, and with a guy like Mays they’re all worth reading.  I was particularly fond of this one in the San Jose Mercury News.  Comcast Sports Bay Area has been running a series of stories on Mays’ life and career as well, including this one on the catch he made in the 1954 Series.  Comcast will also be running a one-hour documentary on the Say Hey Kid on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 Pacific time, following the Giants-Rockies game.

I never got a chance to see Mays play, but the one thing that strikes me about him — apart from his obvious greatness — is that he had a game unlike that of most players in the 50s, what with the combination of speed, power and defense.  I often wonder which players from previous eras could compete if they were put in a time machine and plopped into 2011.  I’m sure most of the superstars would still be pretty darn good, but Mays is the one who I bet would lose the least of any of them.

Ian Kinsler could be traded this week

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Tigers general manager Al Avila said today that he may trade Ian Kinsler during the Winter Meetings.

The Tigers are rebuilding to it makes sense that they trade the veteran Kinsler. Earlier this offseason he had been linked to the Mets and Angels. There is a lot of competition for the Tigers in trading Kinsler, though, as the Marlins are thought to be shopping Starlin Castro. Neil Walker is likewise available as a free agent.

Kinsler, 35, batted .236/.313/.412 with 22 homers and 14 steals over 139 games this past season. He’s owed $11 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract. He can probably be obtained for the cost of the contract.

In other news, Kinsler wears number 3 for the Tigers, who today announced that they will retire number 3 for Alan Trammell, who was just elected to the Hall of Fame. A Kinsler trade would, at the very least, save the team an awkward conversation.