Detroit Tigers Acquire Former Growler in Kinsler Trade
KALAMAZOO, MICH. — The busy Los Angeles Angels filled a big hole at second base, acquiring Ian Kinsler from the Detroit Tigers for two minor leaguers Wednesday night.
Detroit received 23-year-old outfielder Troy Montgomery and 18-year-old right-hander Wilkel Hernandez in the trade.
Montgomery (Ohio State) was a member of the Kalamazoo Growlers 2014 campaign. As the team’s regular center fielder, Montgomery exploded onto the summer league scene last season, leading Kalamazoo in batting average (.357), triples (4), stolen bases (13) and OPS (.962). The Fortville, IN native was named to the Northwoods League regular season and postseason All-Star teams, one of three Growlers to make both squads.
The 35-year-old Kinsler hit .236 with 22 home runs and 52 RBIs in 139 games last season for the rebuilding Tigers, who tied San Francisco for the worst record in the majors at 64-98. He is due to earn $11 million next season in the final year of his contract.
The four-time All-Star and 2016 Gold Glove winner adds a steady and productive veteran to the Angels’ lineup as they try to construct a playoff team around two-time AL MVP Mike Trout.
After going 80-82 last season to finish second in the AL West, Los Angeles recently landed two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who excelled as both a pitcher and hitter in Japan.
With the Tigers shedding payroll, the Angels also acquired slugger Justin Upton from Detroit in an Aug. 31 trade and then signed the All-Star outfielder to a $106 million, five-year contract.
Upton solves a problem in left field for the Angels that lasted years. Kinsler should be an upgrade at second base, where projected starter Danny Espinosa batted .162 with six homers in 77 games last season.
Los Angeles also made an Aug. 31 trade with Atlanta for veteran second baseman Brandon Phillips, who became a free agent this offseason.
Kinsler is a .273 career hitter with a .342 on-base percentage and .789 OPS. He has 234 homers and 839 RBIs to go with 225 stolen bases.
Kinsler was generally productive during four years with Detroit, although his batting average dipped to a career low in 2017. He was acquired from Texas in a trade for Prince Fielder and batted .275 with 78 home runs, 300 RBIs and 401 runs for the Tigers.
But the Tigers’ run as a plausible contender ended with a thud last season and they began looking toward the future, trading Upton, star pitcher Justin Verlander and slugging outfielder J.D. Martinez before September.
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Entering its 25th anniversary season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 185 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.growlersbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Growlers as your favorite team.