The Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers got the Major League Baseball offseason started quickly Wednesday night, springing a blockbuster trade on the baseball world: Prince Fielder to Texas with Ian Kinsler shifting to Detroit. It’s a rare, old-fashioned baseball trade, player for player.
On paper, the trade looks like a win for both sides. First base has plagued the Rangers since 2007, when they dealt Mark Teixeira to the Braves in a trade that helped set up two World Series runs. This trade frees up the middle infield logjam in Arlington, allowing Jurickson Profar to slide into second base and officially start his career as an everyday infielder for the Rangers. It also provides a much needed power bat in the middle of the lineup with Nelson Cruz now a free agent. Plus, it’s a left-handed power bat, something the Rangers desperately needed in 2013.
The Tigers also addressed needs in the blockbuster. For a team that has been knocked for its defense over the years, the middle infield looks infinitely more athletic now with Jose Iglesias and Ian Kinsler saddled in over other combinations they have tried. While the Tigers ate $30 million of Fielder’s contract to help offset some of the cost for the Rangers, they still freed up about $60 million in salary. With Cy Young winner Max Scherzer getting ready to hit free agency in a year, and Miguel Cabrera in two years, the Tigers needed some financial flexibility. This trade helps achieve that.
Both the Tigers and the Rangers fancy themselves in the elite class of the American League, and this trade will help keep each firmly planted in that category going forward.