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Report: Ian Kinsler could be a fallback option for Dodgers

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According to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, Tigers’ infielder Ian Kinsler could be a “possible fallback option” for the Dodgers if talks with Twins’ second baseman Brian Dozier continue to stall. This isn’t the first time the two have been connected, as the Dodgers reportedly made inquiries on Kinsler as early as last November. The Twins are rumored to be on the fence about dealing Dozier, however, which could up the Dodgers’ interest in working out a trade with the Tigers.

Kinsler, 34, polished off another productive season in 2016, racking up 5.8 fWAR while slashing .288/.348/.484 with 28 home runs in 679 PA. Aside from his sizable contributions at the plate, part of his appeal lies in his contract, which guarantees him $11 million for the 2017 season with a $10 million option (and $5 million buyout) for 2018. Although his salary figure shouldn’t break the bank, the Dodgers have reason to be wary, as Kinsler previously stated that he is unwilling to waive his partial no-trade clause without a contract extension.

Despite the potential difficulty in making a deal with the Dodgers, who happen to be one of the 10 teams on Kinsler’s no-trade list, no other teams have been seriously linked to the second baseman this winter. The Tigers are still looking to shed a hefty portion of their payroll, and Cafardo notes that they might also consider moving shortstop Jose Iglesias this winter in order to get under the luxury tax threshold.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.