The Detroit Tigers and the Texas Rangers agreed on this year’s first and unexpected big blockbuster deal that will send Tigers first baseman, Prince Fielder, to the Rangers for the Rangers’ second baseman, Ian Kinsler. It’s unexpected because Fielder would only be entering the third year of his nine year contract with the Tigers and Kinsler, considered one of the leagues elite second baseman, was still signed to four more years with the Rangers.
This is a done deal pending physicals and the approval of at least Fielder, who has a limited no-trade clause in his nine year $214 million dollar deal with the Tigers. Kinsler makes considerably less and it was first reported by Yahoo! Sports Jeff Passan that the Rangers will also recieve $30 million dollars in cash to compensate the marked difference in salary.
Kinsler is guaranteed to make $57 million over the next four years with a team option of a fifth year in Texas (2018) for another $12 million or a buyout option of $5 million making his contract much more lucrative for the team than Fielder’s. Texas takes on the first baseman for the next seven years at a cost of $24 million per year until 2020 when Fielder will be 36 years old.
This trade opens up a lot of opportunities for both ball clubs. Detroit, who would obviously like to sign this season’s CY Young award winner, Max Scherzer, to a long term deal, now has the available money to try and do so. They can also move current back-to-back American League MVP, Miguel Cabrera, to his original position at first base and use prospect Nick Castellanos at third base. Cabrera moved from first to third base when the Tigers signed Fielder in after the 2011 season. The trade also fills a hole at second base for Detroit with Omar Infante’s free agency.
The deal will also benefit the Texas roster. They will be able move top prospect, Jurickson Profar, whose primary position is shortstop to an everyday role at second base thus finally giving the young star regular playing time while Elvis Andrus will be able to keep up his everyday role at shortstop. It also bolsters the Rangers’ lineup. With the free agency of Nelson Cruz, Texas will have protection for third baseman and three-hole hitter Adrian Beltre, with Fielder in the clean up spot.
Both stars’ numbers dwindled in 2013. Fielder finished the season with a career low 106 RBI and a .279 batting average which combined with his mediocre defensive skills and long term contract made him a liability for Detroit. Also, once seen as one of the premier power hitters in the league, Fielder ended this past season with only 25 home runs. Fielder’s lack of production in the last two post-seasons also leaves a question mark for the Rangers, should they make it to the playoffs in 2014. Kinsler, usually great offensively with two career 30-30 seasons under his belt, came under scrutiny as well, finishing off the 2013 season with a .277 batting average, having only 13 home runs and 72 RBI’s.
How this enormous trade of two super stars will turn out remains to be seen but at the moment both teams seem content with their new acquisitions.