Elvis Andrus’ eight-year, $120 million contract extension puts an end to any speculation that the Rangers would trade him to clear shortstop for stud prospect Jurickson Profar, but in doing so it opens up another can of worms involving Ian Kinsler.
Profar is arguably the No. 1 overall prospect in baseball, so presuming that the Rangers plan to hold onto him second base seems like the natural destination. Of course, Ian Kinsler is the Rangers’ current second baseman and has been since 2006, making three All-Star teams as one of the best all-around players at the position in baseball.
Kinsler is also signed through 2017, with a team option for 2018. So that means either the Rangers will look to trade the 30-year-old Kinsler to open up second base for the 20-year-old Profar or they’ll slide Kinsler to another position to keep them both. Kinsler could certainly play first base, but while his usual 25 homers and .800 OPS are extremely impressive among second basemen that production would be nothing special among first basemen.
It’s an interesting dilemma for the Rangers and certainly a nice problem to have. It’s also not something that needs an immediate resolution, because Profar is currently at Triple-A and turned 20 years old six weeks ago. But the Rangers are going to have some decisions to make pretty soon. Kinsler is owed $13 million this season and $62 million from 2014-2017.
The Tampa Bay Rays were reported this week to be “open for business” as far as trades go. Normally that means nothing happens until late June or something. The Rays are getting right down to it, though, as they’ve just traded closer Alex Colome and outfielder Denard Span to the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners, who have played some outstanding ball lately thanks to some outstanding starting pitching, and are looking to bolster other areas as they make a push in the AL West, will likely slot Colome into a setup role in front of closer Edwin Diaz. Span will take over center field, allowing Dee Gordon to, eventually anyway, once he recovers from a fractured toe, cover for the suspended Robinson Cano at second base. If the M’s make the playoffs he’d likely do so in the postseason too, given that Cano will be ineligible for any October play due to his suspension.
Colome has saved 11 games for the Rays, with a 4.15 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 23/8 in 21.2 innings.Span is hitting .238/.364/.385 with four homers and six stolen bases on the season.
Two players are going back to the Rays: righties Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero. Moore was the Mariners’ second round pick in 2015 and made his big league debut last season, pitching 59 innings in 2018 but back in the minors so far in 2018. Romero was a 15th rounder for Seattle in 2017 and is currently plying his trade in A-ball.
The Rays, as expected, are using the 2018 season to acquire prospects. The Mariners, who are unexpectedly strong in the early going, are trying to go for it even harder. Quite a big trade for late May.