This past Wednesday, the first blockbuster deal of the baseball offseason took place between the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers. It was a very rare one-to-one team deal as the Detroit Tigers traded first baseman Prince Fielder as well as $30 million to the Texas Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler. Although the deal might come as a shock to both Tigers and Rangers fans it makes sense for both teams in the American League.
This is why the deal is smart move for the Tigers:
Last season, the Tigers had a very inflexible roster. They had three sluggers, Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder, who needed to be in the lineup. However, Prince Fielder was a below average first baseman and Miguel Cabrera was a mediocre third baseman stricken by injuries. This weakened an already weak Detroit defense. Not to mention Fielder had a very below average season with his bat and failed to produce anything during the playoffs.
By acquiring Ian Kinsler the Tigers have strengthened their defense and allowed themselves some flexibility on both sides of the ball. With Kinsler at second base they now have an all-star caliber second baseman playing every day, who has a career batting average of .273. The trade also allows the Tigers to move Cabrera to first base where he won’t make as many errors and will suffer fewer injuries. As for third base, the Tigers can either put their backup Nick Castallenos there or search for a starter in free agency. Although Castallenos has been training for left field, he originally came up as a third baseman and is more than capable of playing the position.
Also, by getting rid of Fielder’s enormous contract, it will give the Tigers more money to sign Cy Young winner Max Scherzer next offseason as well as Miguel Cabrera the following year when his contract expires. Financially speaking, this deal was a very smart move for the Tigers, and will greatly benefit them in the future.
This is why the deal is smart for the Rangers:
Last year the Rangers struggled to find a power hitter in their lineup, despite their hitter friendly park. They had a roster filled with average hitters and Adrian Beltre batting cleanup. They also had a lack of left-handed hitters and too many middle infielders, including superstar prospect Jurickson Profar who just so happens to play second base.
Trading Kinsler for Fielder addressed all of the issues Texas dealt with last year. Fielder is a left-handed power hitter who will be able to produce career high numbers at the Ballpark in Arlington next season. One could say that the reason his slugging average had dropped with the Tigers is because of the size of Detroit’s ballpark. Now that he is in a smaller ballpark, his offensive production should greatly increase. The deal also allows the Ranger to utilize their prospect, Profar, who was ready to have a starting job last season.
Although initially the deal does not seem like a smart financial move by the Rangers, this is an investment they can afford. Due to the combination of their new national TV deal which will bring them $26 million a year and a bunch of salary commitments coming off the books, plus the $30 million they got from the trade, Fielder’s contract is not a problem.
Overall, the deal works out perfectly for both teams. While giving Detroit some salary cap space, it loosens up their batting order and strengthens their crippled defense. The Rangers acquire the power hitting left hander they need, and now Jurickson Profar has an everyday starting job. This trade has ultimately made better teams out of both of these clubs, and is just what each team needed.