The best part about this time of the year is the completely wacky trade rumors that come across the wire. This one isn't a rumor, though: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is confirming that the Tigers and Rangers have agreed to a deal that would send Ian Kinsler to Detroit and Prince Fielder to Texas. The trade is a one for one, with no other players being involved, though Texas will receive $30 million in salary to help offset Fielder's contract. Fielder did not block the trade with his no-trade clause.
On paper, it makes sense to some degree for both sides. Detroit's second baseman Omar Infante is a free agent, and the club has top third base prospect Nick Castellanos waiting in the wings. Trading Fielder could let the club shift Miguel Cabrera back across the diamond and prevent a move to the outfield for Castellanos, all while plugging in Kinsler at second to replace Infante. Meanwhile, trading Kinsler for Fielder would allow the Rangers to play stud infield prospect Jurickson Profar every day at second while letting Fielder play first base instead of the frustrating Mitch Moreland.
While Kinsler is still owed a minimum of $62 million over the next four years, Fielder is owed a whopping $168 million over the next seven. Fielder's stats are already taking a step back, as he hit a career-low 25 home runs in 2013 to go along with a disappointing .276/.362/.457 line. Kinsler also disappointed last year, hitting a career-low 13 homers and scuffling his way to a .277/.344/.413 line, but when you consider their contracts, it's pretty obvious that he's the better value going forward - even with the $30 million heading to Texas in the deal.
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This should be a trade that helps both teams. Texas has a much smaller right field plus the old Tiger stadium type porch for Fielder to hit fly ball home runs. He plays a decent 1st base. His stats getting is lower may just be because of him going through a divorce. In his 2 years in Detroit, he had over 100 RBI both years. In his first year there he had his highest batting average ever. He played good for the Tigers except in the playoffs.
Kinsler gives the Tigers a lot of flexibility they didn't have before. He is a fine defensive player and carries a good bat. He adds speed too. If the Tigers move Miggy back to 1st and the rookie Castellanos back to his natural position at 3rd, that will help too. Miggy played a pretty good 3rd for them, but may be even more valuable to them at 1st. This leaves the Tigers with only one large hole yet. A closer is needed, hopefully Joe Nathan ends up in the old English D.