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Breaking Down the Prince Fielder Trade

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Texas acquired the slugging first baseman from Detroit for 2B Ian Kinsler. Who wins the deal?

Breaking Down the Prince Fielder Trade

A rather stunning trade went down last night between the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers. First baseman Prince Fielder was traded from Detroit to Texas in exchange for second baseman Ian Kinsler. Just two years prior, Prince Fielder signed a mammoth free agent contract to join the Tigers. Now he's being shipped off to Texas. When you look at it, this deal seems like it's a win-win for both teams. Let's dive in further.

Why Prince Fielder Wins

Fielder's numbers, especially his power numbers, have been down ever since he arrived in Detroit. He hit a career-low 25 home runs last year despite playing all 162 games. His slugging percentage was also a career low, his lowest since his rookie season. Even though Fielder has hit more home runs at home than on the road in his two seasons with the Tigers, I feel like Comerica Park is a deterrent to his power numbers. The Ballpark in Arlington is a much better home for left-handed power hitters, and the slight change in scenery could lead to better power production from Fielder.

Fielder also gets to be "the man" again in this Texas lineup. I doubt sharing a lineup with Miguel Cabrera is ever something that would mess with your head. If anything, Fielder was getting more opportunities with teams not wanting to pitch to Miggy. And in Milwaukee, he had a pretty talented second fiddle in Ryan Braun to team up with him in the lineup. But Texas' lineup is, right now, devoid of such a bat. Fielder can come right in and be the anchor for the Rangers instead of supporting Cabrera.

Why Ian Kinsler Wins

Kinsler, at age 31, moves from one perennial AL contender to another, so he at least avoids getting sent to a baseball wasteland. He will plug right in at second base for the Tigers and can man the top of the lineup with Austin Jackson. Or, if the Tigers feel he doesn't get on base enough, he can move down in the lineup to bolster that section. His defense will also be a plus for the Tigers. While Omar Infante was a nice boost at the plate when he was acquired in 2012, he was average in the field. Kinsler represents an upgrade in the field, and at 31is still at an age where he can remain productive for a few years.

He also has job security. In Texas, top prospect Jurickson Profar was waiting in the wings. Eventually, either Kinsler or shortstop Elvis Andrus was going to be moved to make room for Profar, and now he at least can begin the year with his new team.

Why Detroit Wins

The biggest way Detroit wins is by saving money from Fielder's contract. The savings amount to $76 million, and that's money that can be spent to extend guys like Miguel Cabrera/Max Scherzer or make some other moves in the free agent market. And it isn't to say that Fielder would have continued to decline, but anytime you can rid yourself of a cumbersome contract like that, you are doing yourself a huge favor.

Detroit can also slide Miguel Cabrera back over to first base and add a slightly better glove at third. With slick fielders like Kinsler and Jose Iglesias patrolling the infield, Detroit's defense could be highly improved next season.

Why Texas Wins

They get a big bat like Fielder to plug into the lineup while also clearing room to play their prized prospect Profar full time. If those two can help the Rangers return to postseason prominence, the additional $76 million in payroll will have been worth it. Sure it adds some pressure for the Rangers to win now, but you would rather have that than middling expectations. They know the path, and they are going for it with this move.

Who do you think got the best of the trade? Let us know in the comments section!

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