Dave Cameron of Fangraphs.com says the Tigers will save $76 million in future salary in the trade.
Seventy-six million dollars!
This money helps the Tigers in numerous areas.
First, they get extreme long-term salary relief, mainly so they can throw money at Max Scherzer, Miguel Cabrera and Doug Fister internally. Or, at the very least, they know they have more long-term flexibility to make the kind of contract offers that the three players will expect.
The money will also help the Tigers in the short term. Acquiring Kinsler fills a need at second, but there are other needs they need to address.
Sliding Cabrera to first base means that they can shift super-prospect Nick Castellanos to third base, which is his natural position. The downside to this is that it opens up a hole in left field, where Castellanos was projected to play full time.
Detroit can spend some of its newfound cash on a corner outfielder. The team could throw another Fielder-like contract at Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury, which could have fantastic short-term implications but horrendous long-term ones. This seems unlikely, seeing as the team was willing to eat $30 million just to move on from a declining Fielder and his contract.
What’s more likely is the Tigers giving a veteran, like old friend Curtis Granderson, or Carlos Beltran, a contract similar to the one they gave Torii Hunter. This would fill the hole in the short term while also giving the team that same long-term flexibility in terms of salary obligations.
Refusing to splurge on Choo or Ellsbury and signing a cheaper option like Granderson would give Dave Dombrowski the flexibility to go after a much-needed closer. Joe Nathan is the talk of the town in terms of rumored Tigers’ targets and would be the perfect fit.
Hunter is reportedly already trying to recruit Nathan.
The team could also spend some of the money to address the rest of its bullpen.