The Tigers have done it again… They have made a trade, just like they did at the end of Spring Training in 2022. This time around, it isn’t as big of a splash as when they acquired Austin Meadows from Tampa Bay, but it is still an intriguing trade. Zach McKinstry is once again on the move. He was traded at the deadline last season from the Dodgers to the Cubs… Now, Chicago is sending McKinstry to Detroit in exchange for RHP Carlos Guzman. The Cubs will be getting a prospect who will be turning 25 in May. Guzman has spent most of his career in West Michigan with the Whitecaps, and he’s pitched as high as Double-A with the Erie SeaWolves, although he only played two games with Erie. Detroit will be getting a versatile player who is primarily an infielder. Unlike Guzman, McKinstry has MLB experience. He played in 4 games for the 2020 World Series champions the year they won it all. He had two hits in seven at-bats; one of those hits was for extra-bases, a double, and he ended up scoring. McKinstry saw more playing in 2021; he appeared in 60 games that season. He bat .215, had 16 extra-base hits, 7 Home Runs, 29 RBI, a .263 OBP, .405 slugging percentage, .668 OPS, and he walked 11 times, one of which was an intentional walk. Last season Zach McKinstry played in 10 games for the Dodgers before he was moved at the deadline when the Chicago Cubs acquired him in a trade. He played 47 games with his new club in 2022, with them he batted .206, had 13 extra-base hits, 4 Home Runs, 12 RBI, a .272 OBP, .361 slugging percentage, .633 OPS, he walked 13 times. I’d like to say that even though those numbers aren’t great, he’s been fantastic in spring training; that hasn’t been the case, though. McKinstry has played in 20 games this spring, has had 38 at-bats, and only three hits. He had a batting average of .079. Even though he’s struggled, there isn’t much risk in this trade.
What kind of impact can Zach McKinstry have for Detroit?
Right now, it’s pretty hard to say what kind of impact he’ll have for us. He’s definitely going to have to reestablish himself in the minor leagues, and I’m not sure where they will start him to begin the year. Maybe Triple-A Toledo, probably even more likely that he goes to Double-A, or even A-Ball like Minnesota did when Miguel Sano had his big slump and was struggling. This move is pretty similar to the trade that sent Maton and Vierling to Detroit, only because Nick Maton and Matt Vierling are versatile players who can play in both the infield and the outfield, just like McKinley.