Looking at the title, clearly the Detroit Tigers are insane for trading Prince Fielder right? RIGHT?! Wrong. After breaking down this trade it will become clear that this is a win-win for both teams, and both players.
Texas receives Prince Fielder. Detroit fans will tell you that in the two seasons that Prince Fielder played for the Tigers, he was good, however he was not his “superstar” talent as he showed in Milwaukee. While in Detroit he combined to hit right around .290 with a total of 55 home runs and 215 rbi’s in a two year span. Not the Prince Fielder we expected but still very solid. But, Fielder was a terrible postseason hitter, and a lazy 1st baseman, and after awhile the fans had enough of the laziness and some were even booing him after his 8th ALCS strikeout last year. Right after the season the Tigers made it known that Fielder was on the trading block but would only accept exclusive top of the chart offers, they found one here.
What Detroit fans fail to remember is that Comerica Park, the home of the Tigers, is a much bigger field than Miller Park where the Brewers play, especially down the right field line. Fielder owned Miller park, nearly hitting the 40 home run plateau on a yearly basis. Then he came to Detroit and what normally is a home run in Miller Park became a long fly out in Comerica. Now that Fielder is going be playing for the Texas Rangers, one thing which the home field of the Texas Rangers is known for is they having one of the shortest right field fences in all the league. If Prince Fielder can stay focused and continue to work on his game there is more than a good chance that he will be back to his 40+ home runs a year self. And THAT is something that Tigers fans must be willing to accept.
Detroit receives Ian Kinsler. While Ian Kinsler is not the superstar Prince Fielder is, Kinsler has is a superb glove at 2nd base, is very smart on the base-paths, and is consistent from a hitting standpoint. He may not have been the main man in Texas but he played a huge part in the two World Series which the team played in. Along with his great regular season hitting, unlike Prince Fielder, Ian Kinsler has shown to be capable of succeeding in the postseason. His career post-season numbers (in 5 less games than Fielder) are .311, 4 HR, 20 RBI (34 G) as opposed to Fielders .194, 5 HR, 11 RBI (39 G).
Assuming Kinsler will be the starting 2nd baseman on opening day, that puts the middle of the infield at Kinsler at 2nd and Jose Iglesias at shortstop. The Tigers went from having one of the worst defenses in the league in 2013 to one of the best coming in the 2014 season. This also allows two time MVP Miguel Cabrera to move back to 1st base, his natural position, and will also stay healthier which in turn he will likely hit even better from the plate. Ian Kinsler was known in Texas for the large amount of doubles he hit, which at Rangers Ballpark is more difficult because of it’s smaller dimensions. Kinsler hit a total of 42 doubles in 2012, and 31 in 2013. The dimensions in Comerica Park are much larger, and the outfield is huge, which means gaps for Kinsler to hit into will be larger as well. Kinsler will be living in doubles alley every home game, setting it up perfectly for players by the names of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez to drive him in.
Possibly the most important thing about the Tigers getting Kinsler and losing Fielder is that over the next 5-7 years the Tigers will be saving approximately $100 million. This will likely allow the Tigers to resign Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and also likely sign another player, probably someone to start in Left Field on opening day, unless Andy Dirks wins the position battle. The opportunities this has opened for GM Dave Dombrowski are (for him) endless.
Who won the trade? From what we have here, neither team has won the trade, it’s a tie. There may no ties in sports, but this is just the side game. Gotta watch the season unfold and then we will see who won the trade. Don’t be surprised if Prince Fielder hits 40 maybe even 50 home runs with the Rangers, that’s who he is, and he is in the right ballpark to do so. However, Ian Kinsler is also in the right ballpark to do what he does best, hit singles, hit doubles, steal bases, and most importantly, be a setup man for the Tigers big hitters.