Justin Upton and Ian Kinsler were two of the top stars in Detroit during their tenure. Both combined for eight career All-Star selections. Upton won three Silver Sluggers. Kinsler won two Gold Gloves. In the final “retool” year in Detroit, the Tigers traded the pair. Upton was shipped away in August. Kinsler stayed with Detroit for the season and left in December. However, the return Detroit received from the Angels was sadly forgettable.
The Prospects Traded for Ian Kinsler and Justin Upton
First, the pieces received for Justin Upton were pitchers Grayson Long and Elvin Rodriguez. Both players are still in the Tigers organization. Long last recorded a 13.50 ERA in 4 IP in 2017. Rodriguez posted an 11-9 record with a 3.77 ERA as a MudHens starter in 2019. Neither of the players rank outside of the top 30 of Detroit’s prospects. As a result, they do not look like a big part of the future in Detroit.
Second, the players from Anaheim the Tigers got for Ian Kinsler: OF Troy Montgomery and P Wilkel Hernandez. Montgomery had a total of 9 at-bats for the Tigers from 2018 to 2019. The team apparently didn’t like what they saw in his limited action. The 5’10 prospect is no longer with Detroit.
The second player, Wilkel Hernandez, has kept a roster spot with the organization. The 21-year-old is currently with the AAA Toledo MudHens. In the minors in 2019, he posted a 9-7 record with a 3.73 ERA and 90 Ks. Despite his performance, the excess of arms in Detroit’s pipeline make him less and less valuable.
What Happened to J-Up and Kinsler?
As an Angel, Justin Upton would finish as a Gold Glove finalist and win his third Silver Slugger at the end of 2017. He subsequently signed a 5-year, $106 million deal to stay in Anaheim. Still with the club, Upton has been apart of multiple failed postseason pushes. Injuries have hampered the 33-year-old veteran and his production has fallen the past two years. He is signed with the club until 2022.
Kinsler would rejoin his old teammate for the 2018 season with the Angels. He was the primary leadoff hitter for the club before being traded to the Red Sox at the deadline. Kinsler would be crucial defensively for the club in their 2018 World Series win. After winning his second Gold Glove in 2018, Kinsler signed with the Padres. Unfortunately, Kinsler would endure a herniated disc injury in that same season. He spent his final season with San Diego in 2019 and ended his last game with his first pitching appearance and a home run in the same inning.