Fielder for Kinsler is a Slight Nod to the Rangers
For the Rangers
They desperately needed a power bat and one that could play first base. Mitch Moreland is a journeyman player. Nelson Cruz is not returning to the Rangers. David Murphy already left for the Indians. They were significantly short on power since Josh Hamilton was understandably allowed to leave and a legitimate mid-lineup threat was what they were shopping for. They also wanted to make room for Jurickson Profar in the lineup while clearing Ian Kinsler’s salary.
With Prince Fielder, they fulfilled each and every one of those needs and cleared enough salary so they can sign another player of the Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo ilk.
Is there a concern that Fielder’s girth will become an issue as he enters his mid-30s? That his poor defense at first base will relegate him to DH very soon? Yes. But Fielder has been remarkably durable considering his extra size, playing in at least 157 games a season since 2006 and in every single game in three of the past four seasons. In the other, he played 161 games. The weight isn’t keeping him out of the lineup.
Looking at his contract and how much the Fielder contract was shaved off their payroll by getting rid of Kinsler and the Tigers paying $30 million, this is a no-brainer.
Kinsler was owed $62 million.
Fielder was owed $168 million.
The Tigers are sending $30 million to the Rangers to offset part of the contract.
That essentially comes to the Rangers paying $76 million for seven years of Prince Fielder.
What would be said if Fielder was a free agent and the Rangers signed him to a 7-year, $76 million contract? Scott Boras would have to answer questions as to whether Luca Brasi held a gun to his head and assured him that either his client’s signature or his brains would be on the contract.
The defensive downgrade is nothing to ignore. Moreland is a good defensive first baseman and Fielder can only catch the balls he can get to, but Moreland will still spend a significant amount of time at the position while Fielder is the DH. Kinsler is a tremendous defensive second baseman. Fielder will be liberated with the friendly home park in which to hit. A return to 45-50 homers should be expected.
The trade is another example of general manager Jon Daniels thinking outside the box and making a shocking move out of the blue. This is a great trade for the Rangers.