I sampled three friends in player development, and all said they would prefer free-agent second baseman Eduardo Nunez over Neil Walker, who may be forced to again take a one-year deal.
Similarly, they all prefer to trade for Indians 2B-OF Jason Kipnis over Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler, though they all believe Kinsler will cost significantly less in trade.
"Walker is a professional second baseman, I just wish he'd provide a bit more power," one NL insider told me, after noting that Walker has missed roughly 30 percent of the last two seasons due to injury.
The Mets traded Walker and a reported $4.7 million to the Brewers in early August.
Nunez battled multiple injuries this past season, including issues with his hamstring, wrist, back, and a torn ligament in his knee that forced him to miss most of September.
"When he's healthy, Nunez can be a nice leadoff hitter because he can still run well and almost always puts the ball in play," the same NL insider said. "He's limping over 30 years old, though."
In addition to playing second base, Nunez can also play third base and shortstop.
In regards to trading for a second baseman, I can't get a read on if the Indians are serious about moving Kipnis, who will earn $13.5 million next season. This is a lot of money to pay a guy that will essentially be a utility guy for Cleveland in 2018. There are also reports indicating they're open to trading a starting pitcher or two to help bolster and solidify other areas of their roster.
I'm sure Mets manager Mickey Callaway would love to see Sandy Alderson acquire Kipnis (who can also play the outfield), and one Cleveland pitcher given Callaway's knowledge and relationship of his former. But, I don't see a natural fit between the two rosters, especially because both sides will want to build a deal around swapping major-league players for major-league players.
The Twins, on the other hand, intend to compete in 2018. In return for 2B Brian Dozier, I hear Minnesota is looking to get back an established starting pitcher, or back-end relief pitcher under team control through at least the following season. The fact is the Twins don't have to deal Dozier, who they say is an important part of their clubhouse and leadership on field. However, they're willing to talk with teams interested in him if it can help them on the mound the next few seasons.
The least expensive option may be Kinsler, who will be a free agent after next season.
The word in Detroit is that the Tigers are not asking a lot for Kinsler because they simply want to dump his $11 million salary. In 2017, he had his worst season since leaving the Rangers in 2013. However, even at his worst, he'll still likely have similar (and in some cases, better) production as every name mentioned in this post.
The Angels appear to have the most interest in Kinsler, according to local reports. I have yet to see or hear any definitive reports indicating Alderson intends to pursue Kinsler. However, given the above motivation and asking prices, Detroit's second baseman should be toward the top of his list.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. He recently left his position as Executive Editor and Dir. of Digital Content for SNY.TV to help sports brands build their own digital content businesses...