Oct 17, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder (28) reacts at the end of the first inning in game five of the American League Championship Series baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
In what will surely be the biggest news of the offseason for the Detroit Tigers — bigger than the manager change — Prince Fielder has been traded to the Texas Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler, according to a report by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
"The Rangers and Tigers have agreed on a blockbuster deal to send Prince Fielder to Texas for Ian Kinsler, pending physicals and the approval of at least Fielder, CBSSports.com has learned.There was no word yet of any other players being involved, so it may just be a one-for-one swap of stars. While Fielder’s salary is much larger, it wasn’t certain how much money was involved."
It seems like the Tigers should be chipping in something more here to complete the deal — either prospects or cash — but we’ll have to wait and see on the final terms. Fielder has seven years and $168 million left on the seven year deal he signed prior to the 2012 season, and Kinsler, who will turn 32 in the middle of next season, has four years and $57 million left on his current contract. Grant suggested this sort of trade on these electronic pages a couple of weeks ago.
Kinsler isn’t the offensive force that Fielder is (or can be), but he’s a much better “all around” player; this deal would certainly help in terms of speed, defense, and base running. My only question surrounding Kinsler, though, is just how good of a hitter will he be outside of Texas? He’s a career .898 OPS hitter in Arlington, but just a .710 hitter away from his home ballpark.
If the Tigers aren’t giving up much more than Fielder, or if they aren’t chipping in a huge amount of money, then this is a fantastic deal for the Tigers. And it could still end up very, very well even if they’re giving up more as they’ll be relieved of the burden of the last few years of Prince’s contract.
The timing is a bit unfortunate. The Tigers were smart to unload the contract, but I’d be sad if Prince is remembered purely as a disappointment because of the way things ended in the playoffs. He didn’t produce, and that wasn’t fun, but he did provide the fanbase with some excitement during his two seasons.
We’ll follow up on this story with more opinion and analysis as the details continue to come out.