On Wednesday night, the Rangers and Tigers agreed to a blockbuster deal, sending Prince Fielder to Texas and Ian Kinsler to Detroit, as reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports also reported that Detroit will also be sending the Rangers $30 million to supplement Fielder’s salary.
The trade is good for both sides. Texas now has one less middle infielder to deal with. Detroit has freed up a lot of contract money. But one team has a slight edge, and that is the Texas Rangers.
Fielder, who usually hit 30 or more home runs a season with the Milwaukee Brewers, only hit 25 home runs in 2013 with Detroit. In 2012 with the Tigers, he hit 30 home runs. Because of the design and the short fences at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington , it is clear that Fielder will have no problem swinging for the fences.
And no doubt that the Rangers were looking for his pop. Texas needed to add more power to their lineup. Plus, now Adrian Beltre will see better pitches if he bats in front of Fielder. That will further boost Beltre's 2013 .315 batting average and 92 RBI.
It is true that trading for Fielder now gives the Rangers a $138 million contract to deal with, according to Passan. But that will be $138 million divided over the next seven years.
Fielder's new contract with Texas is actually quite similar to players like Miguel Cabrera, who is making $152.3 million over eight years with Detroit, per Jorge Ortiz of USA Today Sports.
Heyman states that Kinsler has four years left on his five-year, $75 million contract. The 31-year-old has seen his better days behind him.
Compared to his 2012 season, Kinsler hit fewer home runs, going from 19 to 13. The number of doubles, 42 in 2012 and 31 in 2013, declined. Kinsler's slugging percentage has also decreased from .423 to .413.
Moving from the hitter-friendly Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to Comerica Park might see those numbers decrease even more.
Meanwhile, with Kinsler exiting the team, the Rangers can now replace the second baseman with a cheaper alternative.
The biggest probable is prospect Jurickson Profar. The 20-year-old from Curaçao rose quickly through the minor league system. When he arrived to the big leagues, the Rangers didn't know where to place him because Kinsler was the second baseman.
Profar actually played five positions in 2013. They included second base, shortstop, designated hitter, third base and left field.
In 2013, Profar hit .234/.308/.336 during 85 big league games.
Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated argues that the most compelling of Profar’s skills are his ability to consistently make hard contact from both sides of the plate, hit for solid averages and get on base.
Of course, Profar won't simply get the chance to just mark his territory at second base. General manager Jon Daniels told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas that the team likes Profar, but:
We may bring in some competition for him and guys to push him, and he’s got some guys behind him that will push him. We like his potential and what he can bring to the table. He’s a guy we would like to see claim the job, but he's going to have to do that. But there's no entitlement. He’ll have to come in and win the job.
Following the Fielder-Kinsler trade, the best thing for Detroit is that maybe they now have enough money to give Max Scherzer an extension.
In 2013, Scherzer went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA. He recently won the Cy Young Award. Josh Slagter of Mlive.com is reporting that Scherzer's salary can expand from $6.725 million in 2013 to more than $13 million with arbitration.
"It makes it perhaps more possible," Tigers president Dave Dombrowski told Scherzer about the Scherzer extension.
Even with Fielder's contract, the Rangers still have enough money to shop around this winter. And Heyman is suggesting that they are interested in Shin-Soo Choo. Choo played in 154 games for the Cincinnati Reds last season, hitting .285 with a .423 OBP. He also hit 21 home runs and had 54 RBI.
With Fielder and a possible Shin-Soo Choo on the 2014 team, maybe the Rangers will go further than they have the past few seasons.