There’s a story in the Detroit Free Press about Ian Kinsler’s dissatisfaction with his stolen base totals from last year. He swiped only 15 bases and was caught 11 times. The former total was his lowest since his rookie season, the latter total was his highest ever. He discusses the reasons for why this was in the article and they make sense.
It’ll be interesting to see if, as Kinselr wishes, he’ll be able to improve on that now that he’s in Detroit. The Tigers were dead last in all of baseball last season in both stolen bases (35) and stolen base attempts (55). This despite having putative speedy fellows like Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter and Jose Iglesias in the lineup. Of course, they also had Jim Leyland at the helm, not Brad Ausmus, and Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera in the lineup and neither of those are guys who you (a) want running; or (b) want to take the bat out of their hands by running when they’re up.
Maybe the Tigers run more under Ausmus. And with Fielder gone — and the speedy Rajai Davis around — you have to figure that they will attempt more than 55 steals. Still, it seems unlikely to me that the Tigers — who were second in the AL in runs per game, after all — are going to radically change their approach. So while Kinsler should wind up with more than 15 steals, I wouldn’t expect a return to 30.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.