SWAP OF ALL-STARS SHOULD BENEFIT BOTH TEAMS
When the Detroit Tigers signed first baseman Prince Fielder away from the Milwaukee Brewers prior to the 2012 season, they gave him a nine-year/$214 million megadeal with the belief that the burly slugger would pair with superstar Miguel Cabrera in the middle of a potent Tigers lineup for many years to come.
However, Fielder’s first two seasons in the Motor City were somewhat disappointing, with less-than-expected run production and inconsistent defense. The 29-year-old Fielder dropped to 25 home runs this past season and his .819 OPS was his worst in any full season.
Fielder was also a major disappointment for the Tigers in the ’12 and ’13 postseasons with virtually no run production in any series covering 24 games overall.
With a desire to move Fielder and his mammoth contract to open up first base for a switch back by Cabrera, and with a big need for an everyday second baseman, the Tigers and the Texas Rangers concluded a deal yesterday involving Fielder and Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler.
Kinsler, 31, is signed through 2017 and should give the Tigers the dependable, productive second baseman they have been looking for the past couple years. Kinsler batted .277 in 136 games last year with 13 home runs and 72 RBIs.
He also had 15 steals and swiped 172 bases in eight seasons in Texas and is considered a solid defender in the middle infield. Kinsler is also a career .311 batter in 34 postseason games.
Texas has the luxury of moving uber prospect Jurickson Profar into the second base spot to team with shortstop Elvis Andrus for what should be a dynamite double-play combination.
The Rangers add a much-needed bat in Fielder to their lineup, which needed more punch to go along with veterans Adrian Beltre, Alex Rios and Mitch Moreland.
The Tigers must provide more than $4 million annually to the Rangers to pay part of Fielder’s salary for the next seven years.
At the same time, by ridding themselves of Fielder’s bloated contract, the Tigers will have more money available to re-sign ace pitcher Max Scherzer, who will be eligible for free agency after next season, and possibly to retain Cabrera, whose contract expires after the 2015 season.
Image of Prince Fielder courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Patrick Hattman is a lifelong Pittsburgh Pirates fan who was thrilled to see his favorite team make the postseason this year for the first time since 1992 and hopes for a World Series title in 2014.