The Mets should trade for Jason Kipnis

Posted: January 10, 2018 in Hot Stove, News, Opinion
Tags: , , , , , ,

By Steven Inman

World Series - Chicago Cubs v Cleveland Indians - Game Six

Photo via CBS

If you’re reading this, you probably already know it’s been a very quiet offseason for the New York Mets. The team brought in 2017 breakout reliever Anthony Swarzak early on and re-signed Jay Bruce to a 3-year deal Wednesday. This has been the slowest moving MLB offseason in recent memory and there are still plenty of players available that can turn the Mets into a contending club before it’s time to report to Port St. Lucie next month. The Mets could use a starting pitcher and another reliever but it appears Sandy Alderson and his staff has made solving second base a priority. The issue the Mets are having is they’re trying to drastically cut payroll and don’t seem to have the prospects necessary to acquire talent in trades. Despite not having a lot of chips at the table, the Mets can still get their man. Second basemen like Ian Kinsler and Dee Gordon (Dee will play CF in Seattle) were traded for little more than salary relief earlier this offseason. The player the Mets should grab will be tougher to acquire than just a salary dump but he’s worth looking into. That player is Jason Kipnis.

Kipnis, 30, is coming off the worst season of his 7-year MLB career. He was banged up and missed about half of the season with injuries. He didn’t really hit and eventually the Indians decided to move AL MVP candidate Jose Ramirez to Kipnis’ position at 2B and move Jason to center field. The move held mix results for Kipnis and he is expected to move back to second should he stay in Cleveland in 2018.

Kipnis has been in trade talks all winter but the Indians have reportedly been reluctant to move the 2-time All-Star. Kipnis in 2015-16 before his injury plagued year, hit a healthy .289/.357/.460 in nearly 1200 at-bats. During those seasons Kipnis was also a very strong defensive player at 2B so the Indians shifting him to the outfield, where he hadn’t played since 2009 rookie ball was strange. His contract isn’t cheap which is probably why Cleveland is even considering moving him. Kipnis is owed around $13.7M in 2018, $14.7M in 2019 and then has a $16.5M club option for 2020. With that said if Kipnis can come close to his 2015-16 numbers he is a nice bargain for whatever club he is on.

It’s unknown what the Mets could give up that would intrigue the contending Indians. After losing Bryan Shaw to Free Agency they can probably use another reliever. Would the Indians have interest in AJ Ramos and prospects in a Jason Kipnis deal? If I were the Mets I’d have to explore it. While Ramos is expected to be a big part of the Mets bullpen, his salary will jump via arbitration from the $6.55M he made in 2017. The money the Mets could save could allow them to make another big move such as upgrading their starting rotation or look into another reliever to replace Ramos.

When considering the Mets’ payroll remember Jay Bruce’s 3-year $39M deal is backloaded this season, perhaps in an effort to let Sandy Alderson make another big move.

It’s strange to see a quality player like Jason Kipnis reportedly available at arguably his lowest value but there have been similar salary dumps across baseball this offseason. Time for the Mets to take advantage.

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