I was having a discussion with a Mets fan about whether the Jays would be better to trade d'Arnaud for Ian Kinsler or Jon Niese (I know both of those are unlikely, it was basically a "who is better for the Jays"). His opinion was that Jon Niese would be better than Ian Kinsler, I disagreed. Here is my last comment. I decided to post it here to see what BBB thought of either of these, consider it my case for Ian Kinsler.
The Jays biggest weakness is 2B, their rotation is second best in the AL East. The only reason they would acquire Niese is for more depth. If the Jays want depth, they will get a guy that is closer to J.A. Happ, so they dont give up too many prospects, if they want a #1-2 they will trade/sign someone like Greinke. Since Niese fits neither of those, it doesnt make sense.
Now for math:
Toronto's current 2B is Maicer Izturis, last year he had a fWAR of 0.7. Toronto's current 5th starter is J.A. Happ, last year he had a fWAR of 1.8. Ian Kinsler had a fWAR of 3.2 (in a down year). Jon Niese had a fWAR of 2.4. Lets be conservative and say that Ian Kinsler has a war of only 4.5 (considering he had a war of 7.5 in 2011, this is reasonable), that is a 3.6 fWAR improvement. Jon Niese is a 0.6 fWAR improvement. The value of a win according to Fangraphs is $4.5 million. Ian Kinsler's value improvement would be $16.2 million over the incumbent 2B. Jon Niese's on the other hand is a measly $2.7 million. The difference between the two is $13.5 million.
Jon Niese's contract breaks down to an average of $5 million a year over the next 5 years. Ian Kinslers contract breaks down to $14 million a year over the next 5 years. The difference is $9 million. You subtract the contract difference from the fWAR difference and you get $4.5 million. Boom, right there, Ian Kinsler is worth $4.5 million more per year (which is 1 win). Considering 2B is the hardest position to upgrade, and the fact that there are other SP that could fill in depth, I would go with Kinsler.