Ian Kinsler is the only man who played with Mookie Betts and Mike Trout this season. That gives Kinsler a unique perspective in the American League most valuable player debate.
So, if he had a vote for MVP, who would he pick?
“Mookie Betts, because he is the best all-around player,” Kinsler said Monday. “He impacts the game in every aspect.”
Kinsler declined to say how he would compare the two players.
“I don’t compare them. That’s just wrong,” Kinsler said. “But they’re both premier athletes, at the top of the game, guys that are MVP candidates every year. It’s a lot of fun to watch both of them play. They both take charge of the game. They’re in control at all times. It’s fun to watch them both play.”
Betts could play a creative role in the World Series.
J.D. Martinez, the designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox, nearly won a triple crown this season. He led the league by driving in 130 runs, and he finished second in batting average (.330) and home runs (43).
When the series shifts to Dodger Stadium starting Friday, Martinez will play the outfield. In order to clear a spot for Martinez in right field, the Red Sox have considered shifting Betts to second base.
Betts played one game at second base this season and 14 there as a rookie, in 2014. In the minor leagues, he played 230 games at second base, 50 in the outfield.
Kinsler and Brock Holt have shared second base for the Red Sox.
“As far as me and Brock and Mookie, none of us care,” Kinsler said. “It’s about winning games. It’s about four more games and winning the World Series.
“He’s a super athlete, that’s the bottom line. You see the way he impacts the game, offensively and defensively. He’s one of the best, if not the best, and most well-rounded baseball player that there is in the game right now. There’s nothing I don’t think he can’t handle.”
Angels past and present
In Detroit, Kinsler played under Brad Ausmus, who was introduced Monday as the new manager of the Angels. Kinsler said he texted Ausmus on Monday morning to congratulate him.
“Brad’s a great guy,” Kinsler said. “He knows the game. He played the game for a really long time. He’s a smart guy. I wish him the best.
“He’s got another opportunity, and I think it’s a good one in L.A.”
Kinsler said he enjoyed playing for the Angels, and he said the clubhouse was a good one. Still, he said, he was invigorated on July 30, when the Angels traded him to the Red Sox for two minor league relievers.
“You leave a team that is kind of pedaling nowhere, right around .500, and you get to a team that is the best team in baseball,” Kinsler said. “So right there you’re excited about the prospects of the postseason, and what can happen, and what kind of an opportunity you have.
“When you get asked by friends or family what your favorite ballpark is to play in, I always said Fenway. To be able to get traded here, and to play in this ballpark and in front of these fans, I was ecstatic. And then you add in what the team had accomplished to that point, and what [manager] Alex Cora had developed here, and you couldn’t have asked for a better situation.”
Chris Sale starts Game 1 for the Red Sox, with David Price set for Game 2. Cora would not go beyond that, but Rick Porcello and ex-Dodger Nathan Eovaldi could start in some order, depending on whether either is used in relief before then.
Sale spent one night of the ALCS in the hospital because of a stomach illness. He has not disclosed the specific illness, but he has joked that he had an infection around a belly button ring.
“Fashionista, I guess,” Sale said Monday.
Holt since has said he would get one — and a nipple ring as well — if the Red Sox win the World Series.
Cora drew laughs at a news conference by talking about the aftermath of Dave Roberts’ legendary stolen base in the 2004 ALCS, the one that pointed the Red Sox to their first World Series victory in 86 years.
“He comes here and he makes a lot of money signing autographs,” Cora joked. “I know he puts ‘the greatest stolen base in the history of the game.’ He makes a lot of money in an hour. Probably he’s making money right now.”