The Texas Rangers on Wednesday traded second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers for first baseman Prince Fielder.
The Rangers, who officially announced the transaction Wednesday night, will also receive $30 million cash. Fielder is owed $168 million over the next seven years, Kinsler $62 million over the next four. That brings a net savings of $72 million for the Tigers.
Fielder signed a nine-year, $214 million deal with the Tigers in January 2012. Kinsler signed a five-year, $75 million extension with the Rangers in April 2012.
The implications for the Tigers are obvious. The savings on Fielder’s contract could enable them to keep American League Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, who can become a free agent after the 2014 season, and AL MVP Miguel Cabrera, who can become a free agent after 2015.
The blockbuster opens up positions for prospects. Nick Castellanos could play third base for the Tigers, with Cabrera moving to first. Jurickson Profar could play second base for the Rangers.
There are free-agent implications, as well. The Rangers are presumably out on Mike Napoli. They had been involved on Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, as well, among others.
”Obviously, a very exciting trade for us in adding Prince Fielder to the organization,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. ”Also a tough trade to make in that Ian Kinsler’s been with the organization since he was drafted in `03, and we’ve signed him here a couple of times. Been here, a catalyst for our World Series clubs, and a huge part of this. A winning guy, a heart-and-soul guy, and Detroit got a tremendous player and person.”
Fielder, a five-time All-Star, had to consent to the trade before it could be completed because of a limited no-trade provision.
”We’re thankful for what he did for us,” Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski said. ”It’ll be a bat that we miss at times — there’s no doubt about it.”
Fielder hit .279 with 25 homers this year. He drove in 106 runs, but it was his lowest home run total over a full season. He did not have a single RBI in the 2013 postseason and hit .182 in the ALCS.
Daniels said the trade came together quickly; the first discussions took place Tuesday. The Rangers will welcome the durable Fielder, who has played 162 games in four of the past five seasons. Texas was interested in Fielder when he signed with Detroit as a free agent.
”Our offer was well below what it ended up being, so we weren’t that close,” Daniels said. ”I thought he was a genuine guy that really loved the game, really loved playing the game, loved his boys, his sons.”
Kinsler batted .277 with 13 homers this year. The three-time All-Star was limited to 136 games because of injuries to his ribs and right side.