Associated Press

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

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On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”

Report: Mets have discussed Ian Kinsler trade with Tigers

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Jon Morosi reports that the Mets have had preliminary trade discussions with the Tigers concerning veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler.

Kinsler, 35, had the worst season of his career in 2017, finishing with a .236/.313/.412 triple-slash line along with 22 home runs, 52 RBI, 90 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 613 plate appearances. He did, however, have a .244 BABIP, which is 42 points below his career average, so the Mets — and any other interested team — would be banking on a rebound season in 2018.

Kinsler’s 2018 option, worth $10 million, vested when he took his 600th plate appearance in 2017. He can become a free agent after the season.

The Mets need a second baseman or a third baseman and they will use Asdrubal Cabrera at whatever position isn’t addressed. In this case, Cabrera would be the everyday third baseman if the Mets were to acquire Kinsler.