DETROIT, Michigan —
Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers are no strangers to off-season trades, and we Tigers fans have come to expect some fireworks in the winter months. But what the Tigers did on Wednesday evening caught everyone off guard.
The Detroit Tigers sent all-star slugger Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers in exchange for 2B Ian Kinsler and cash considerations. The trade was first reported by CBSSports.com.
Detroit will eat about $30 million of Fielders contract as part of the deal.
Before people freak out and point out how hard it will be to replace 100 RBIs in the lineup, understand that you’re right. But this move was about more than just player performance on the field. Surely that added to it, but the comments Fielder made following the Tigers Game 6 loss to the Red Sox didn’t sit well with the organization. Add his ridiculously overpaid 9-year contract and his lack of performance in the playoffs, and you have a problem that needed to be solved. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski knew that getting someone to bite on Fielder’s contract would be tough, but once again the man in the striped polo came through.
Detroit’s upcoming salary issues are the main reason why watching Prince go will be much easier to swallow. In the next couple seasons, players like Max Scherzer, Miguel Cabrera, and Victor Martinez will all become free agents. All will demand some kind of pay raise, or something close to what they’re earning now. Mike Ilitch has deep pockets, but c’mon people, let’s be realistic here.
In Ian Kinsler, the Tigers are getting a former all-star second baseman who is much better on the basepaths and is an average hitter. He’s under contract through the 2017 season with a club option for 2018. Kinsler will battle Austin Jackson for the lead off spot in the Tigers order. With the money Detroit is saving on Prince Fielder, they now have a more realistic shot and signing Cy Young winner Max Scherzer to a contract extension, as well as making sure Miguel Cabrera is a Detroit Tiger for the remainder of his career.
How will this trade change the Tigers lineup?
Well, obviously when you trade your cleanup hitter from the past 2 seasons, it’s going to shake things up a bit.
It’s hard to think of a player that will be more impacted by this trade than Miguel Cabrera. From a fielding and batting standpoint, his game will change. There has been talk of putting Miggy back at 1st base and inserting rookie Nick Castellanos at 3rd. Cabrera’s body has been through hell and back fielding balls at 3rd, and maybe putting him back at 1st will prolong his career. Meanwhile at the plate, Cabrera has had the luxury of batting in front of Fielder the past 2 seasons. Without Prince, look for Cabrera’s intentional walks to sky rocket. All decisions will ultimately be up to new Manager Brad Ausmus, but feel free to speculate.
The Tigers lineup will take a pretty big hit offensively, with the loss of Fielder a well as infielders Jhonny Peralta and Omar Infante. However, Dave D and company may not be done. Look for the Tigers to be in the mix to add another bat, and obviously make a move to bolster their weak bullpen.
All in all, it’s a great trade for the Tigers. They clear some much needed salary off the books, and look poised to keep their upcoming free agents in the Motor City for years to come. Welcome to Detroit, Ian Kinsler!
As always, Go Tigers!!