The San Diego Padres have made their first major signing of the offseason.
Less than 24 hours after AJ Preller and the San Diego Padres left the winter meetings in Las Vegas, the team has signed their first major free agent of the offseason (that will play in 2019). Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Padres have signed second baseman Ian Kinsler to a two-year deal worth $8 million.
Despite having the top-ranked second base prospect in baseball in Luis Urias, the Padres have gone out and acquired the services of 36-year-old Kinsler, who is coming off a World Series title with the Boston Red Sox.
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Kinsler split his 2018 season with the Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels and finished with a .240/.310/.380/.681 slash line across 128 games. His on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS were the lowest marks of his 13-year MLB career.
Despite winning a Gold Glove Award in 2018 and swiping 16 bags, Kinsler has been well below league-average in terms of wRC+ over the past two seasons, finishing with a wRC+ of 87 and a 2.3fWAR in 2018.
The move is a complete shock, with no rumors or connections to Kinsler up to this point this offseason. With very few options available at shortstop in free agency (outside of Manny Machado but we all know this isn’t a possibility for the San Diego Padres), it appears as if general manager AJ Preller has decided to bring in a veteran second baseman and plug the hole at shortstop with Luis Urias. More importantly, as Dennis Lin notes, the Padres are still looking to add a third baseman this offseason.
He may be approaching 37, but Kinsler can still pick it with his glove. He has played second base in all but one of his 1,801 career games, so this is a clear sign that Urias will be moving to shortstop, for the time being.
From MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell,
The signing has not been made official by the San Diego Padres, meaning no corresponding roster move has been announced. Someone from the 40-man roster will have to be removed. Will it be glove-only shortstop Javy Guerra? The always hustling Jose Pirela? What do you think, Padres fans? How do you feel about the addition of Ian Kinsler?