MLB News: Tigers, Rangers Swap All-Stars – Fielder for Kinsler

The AL Central Champion Detroit Tigers made waves in the baseball world tonight by sending Prince Fielder and $30 million to the Texas Rangers in exchange for All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler.  Heyman had it first, but the details trickled in from everywhere after that.

Fielder still has seven years and $168 million left on his contract  ($24 million per season through 2020), while Kinsler will make $57 million through the 2017 season.

The move addresses several critical needs for the division-rival Tigers, perhaps foremost among them allowing the defensively challenged MVP Miguel Cabrera to move to first base permanently. Moving Cabrera across the diamond would open third base for uber-prospect Nick Castellanos to vie for Rookie of the Year honors in 2014. Additionally, the move should free up enough cash for Detroit to make a serious run at extending Cy Young winner Max Scherzer to a long-term contract, which would establish Detroit’s rotation as the best in baseball for years to come.

Finally, let’s not leave out the fact that Detroit also added an All-Star second baseman–a position of significant need over the last several years.

It’s hard to look at this move as anything but a net win for the Tigers.  GM Dave Dombrowski managed to address a position of need while extracting maximum value out of a contract that was starting to look like a bit of an overpay.

Goodnight, Sweet Prince.


  • nobody

    Well, the good thing about this deal is Kinsler is 31, and defensive middle infielders tend to age faster (though a notable exception is Omar Vizquel, Detroit’s first base coach)…

  • Kildawg

    I thought the bribe, I mean money involved to make the trade look better, was $50 million instead of $30 million. Detroit gets a 2B with a respectable bat while clearing one of their DHs and Texas clears up their middle infield glut while getting that big bat as a DH (we’re talking literally here). Over/under on how many boomsticks Fielder consumes in the Texas dugout? I say its 1 per game.

  • @TheDeePagel

    I see Texas winning this deal (just because most say Detroit and things like this always end up surprising people). I see Kinsler doing his usual 90 game season and battling constant injuries….The Tigers struggle to find protection for Miggy…..Castellanos struggles to adjust to big league pitching…..Verlander becomes more and more human like last regular season……Scherzer regresses back to the mean…..and they use the extra money and overpay for a closer who still blows saves.

    Indians use an injury free starting rotation…..a bounce back year from Bourn and Cabrera…..two solid halves of Swisher…..Kipnis’ first 30-30 season…..a righty/lefty platoon of Raburn and Murphy who combine to hit 28 HRs and drive in 95 runs in RF….and Cody Allen who bursts onto the scene by going 48-for-48 in save chances…..run away with the Central.

    Go Tribe.

  • I like this guy! Someone buy him another drink!
    My Tigers fan buddy texted me raving about Castellanos. I told him some stories of uber-prospects we had that busted. Somehow I don’t see that happening to the Tigers. Why do all of our prospects bust and everyone else’s make it big?

  • Natedawg86

    All is right in the world

  • mgbode

    so, the Tigers clear payroll, improve their defense at 3 positions (Miggy is better than Prince at 1B, 3B, 2B), get a speed-power combo guy at a non-premium position, and don’t have to worry about a 300lb+ guy deteriorating over a way too long contract. sigh.

    I get why the Rangers did the deal too (power is hard to come by and they needed a lineup anchor), but this deal is really good for the Tigers and that makes me sad.

  • Kildawg

    I have the Murphy/Raburn platoon going 30+ HR/100+ RBI combined, and Detroit struggling because the don’t have a big left-handed bat to protect Miggy anymore. Martinez doesn’t count since he’s a switch hitter that’s also injury-prone. Plus DET overpays PEDralta to play 3B.

  • Kildawg

    Trade helped both teams as they dealt from strengths to fill weaknesses. TEX got a DH and cleared up middle infield while DET cleared a DH to get a 2B. DET still has 2 DHs though (Martinez and M.Cabrera).

  • @TheDeePagel

    In all seriousness I agree it’s a win for the Tigers, but I don’t see it as so lopsided. Ranger fans are absolutely giddy to get rid of Kinsler who they have dubbed “Rally Killer Kinsler”….the best part of the deal is the money they save to get a closer, and upgrade at 3B, or lock up Scherzer….but I don’t see Kinsler as an upgrade to their lineup right now. He is extremely injury prone, and is over 30 years old already. I for one am glad Fielder is out of our division simply for the protection he gave to Miggy. I see a decline in Cabrera’s numbers coming – not saying he’ll be a bum now….but a decline is coming.

  • nj0

    Couldn’t agree more. I think this is a huge, huge win for Detroit. Any help Fielder provides in the short term will be offset by years of overpaying. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Fielder’s production goes to pot as early as this year. Meanwhile, they add a quality upgrade at 2B. Kinsler may not be worth his contract, but it’s much less and much shorter than Fielder’s AND he’ll more likely have some value late in the contract too.

    Another oft-cited pro for Texas that I don’t get: it opens up 2nd for Profar. Yeah, technically it does… but so would trading Kinsler for magic beans.

  • nj0

    If you believe in clutch, look at Fielder’s post season production and then look at Kinsler’s.

  • @TheDeePagel

    I got you….I know the stats, I do. But the one thing that trumps clutch is availability. You have to be able to play to be clutch. Kinsler’s durability is a major concern, and Fielder’s is surprisingly not – he’s been very durable.

  • @TheDeePagel

    I understand it was sarcasm, but Profar is not a magic bean. He’s the top rated prospect in baseball last year, and numerous scouts have compared him to A-Rod in terms of production for a middle infielder. I think the Rangers are extremely excited to finally get this kid in the lineup full time without having to shuffle things around.

    Or….they could shock the world and fill the 2B opening with Cano….who knows?

    I still agree with you that the Tigers won….just don’t see it as a landslide win.

    This trade made me feel better about the Indians chances to win the division this year…and that’s me being completely honest.

  • nj0

    No, my point wasn’t to knock Profar. He should be good.

    My point was that Profar would have been taking over 2B (or SS) regardless. Kinsler’s time was up in Texas. So listing it as a benefit of the Fielder trade is sort of ignoring the fact that Profar would be taking over 2B in ANY deal for Kinsler. If you traded Kinsler for absolutely nothing, Profar would still be taking over 2B. It doesn’t make this deal better.

  • Steve

    Kinsler has never played as few as 90 games, and has only been under 120 once in his career.

    And the Tigers win this deal for the reason that has somewhat been slated below: they’re going to find a better use for that $76M they’re saving than they had with Fielder under contract.

  • TSR3000

    Pass the Kool Aid!!

  • TSR3000

    You hit the nail on the most important part. They will re-sign Scherzer now. That sucks.

  • nj0

    And that’s the big win imo – the extra pieces they’re going to add with that $76M. All while getting a player with a similar WAR and moving players around internally to positions that will improve your defense. I get what Texas was thinking, but it sucks that this deal helps the Tigers out so much.

  • mgbode

    oh, I get that it helped both teams, but I don’t really care about the Rangers.

  • @TheDeePagel

    Don’t worry. This helps the Indians….just let it play out. They will waste that money on mistakes. They always do…

  • mgbode

    sigh. I wish. Dombrowski might be the best GM in MLB (outside the draft – noone tops Mozeliak & the Cards in the draft).

    let’s see his last few BIG transactions:

    traded bad Fielder contract for Kinsler
    traded for Iglesias to cover for suspended Peralta
    signed Anibal Sanchez (after having traded for him the year before).
    signed Torii Hunter
    signed Fielder to bad contract (but then got an allstar 2B for him and out from under that contract in time to extend his best SP…ugh).

  • Steve

    The rumors are possibly extensions for Scherzer, which I think is the best result for the Tribe, Scherzer probably isn’t going to be 2013-good again, to adding Choo, which may be the worst scenario for the Tribe.

  • @TheDeePagel

    So he’s due for some mistakes. Come on. I can’t stand the negativity. 92 wins this past year – things are trending our way. No more Fielder giving Cabrera fast balls – even if Fielder underperformed it was still his presence that changed a lot of pitchers.

    It’s our time. Screw the Tigers.

  • nj0

    You forgot…
    * traded bag of bats and balls for Cabrera

    * traded more bats and balls for Fister

  • nj0

    It’s not negativity. It’s objectivity. Tigers have a savvy front office and money to spend.

    As excited as I was about last year, we’re up against it right now. Front office has to pull a few more rabbits out of the hat if we want to realistically compete in 2014.

  • mgbode

    yeah, I was getting frustated, so I quit before getting that far back. don’t forget signing Peralta(105 OPS+ in DET) and Victor (120 OPS+).

    can we get one of the Mets GMs to take over for them?

  • Steve

    According to pitch f/x, Cabrera saw fastballs 55% of the time in 2013, 54.8% of the time in 2012, 55.7% of the time in 2011, and 55.5% of the time in his career. The % of pitches he sees in the zone has ranged from 44% (this year, with Fielder) to 48.7%, which amounts to a difference of one extra strike (or ball, whichever way you’re looking) ever 21 pitches, so not that much.

    Cabrera is just that good, no matter who’s batting behind him.

  • nj0


    Also, illustrated by a tweet from Jason Collette (not sure where he is getting his numbers)…

    “In the 2 seasons before Fielder joined DET, Miggy saw strikes 58.1% of the time. Last 2 seasons, 60.9%. OPS: 1038 vs 1037”

    edit to add: I’ve also seen people look at Braun’s fastball rates during and after Fielder too. Minimal difference there as well. Lazy so not hunting that one down.

  • @TheDeePagel

    You guys like stats, so here is a new statistic…..it’s called IDGAD%.

    It is the “I don’t give a damn %”….

    The IDGAD% on the Tigers being better after this trade is 100%, which means I am 100% sure I don’t give a damn about the Tigers.

    They are from Michigan.

    Michigan sucks.

    We will beat them.

    It’s our time.

    100% IDGAD% says so….

    and don’t freak Steve…..of course I am being sarcastic here.