So many thoughts, more coming tonight.
Fielder and $30M for Ian Kinsler. Kinsler’s big contract is up in 4 years. Fielder’s bigger contract is up in 7.
I’m going to start with Jim’s question below. There’s been a lot of discontent surrounding Kinsler down here, and it’s been rising for about a year and a half. After six years of a .794 OPS or greater, the last two have been rather average for 2B. People think he should be a perennial All-Star. He’s prone to lapses in attention and he may be the most picked off base runner in the AL, other than Elvis Andrus (and Darrell Evans). He’s basically embodying the classic decline you would expect for a borderline All-Star in his early 30s.
That alone was likely enough to put him on the trading block, but this move is being driven by the need for the Rangers to find a place for Jurickson Profar. Profar is the golden child of one of the best farm systems in the league, and the team is anxious to find out what he can do. Realize that the Rangers also lost Nelson Cruz and it’s uncertain whether they’ll pony up what he’ll get elsewhere. Fielder fills that hole nicely.
We all knew that the Tigers over-reached on the last 2-3 years of his contract in order to have Fielder for the first 4-5. Well, the first two were pretty disappointing, and Fielder’s playoff efforts were, well, non-existent. I haven’t done any direct comparisons, but I’m certain that we would have been better off with just about any other 1B in the league in the playoffs, and that’s simply offensively. If you include the poor fielding and base running blunders, Fielder had to have had a net negative effect.
I can’t help but wonder if there is something else going on with Prince Fielder that we don’t know about. Maybe it was the divorce, maybe he couldn’t handle being the 3rd or 4th biggest name on the team, perhaps it was the pressure oozing out of Leyland’s smoke rings. He’s definitely been off since October of 2012, and I hope that heading home to Texas will allow him to return to his Milwaukee self.
Trading Fielder has a myriad of other effects. Here are a few topics for discussion:
– The Tigers just saved about $76M on paper. How much of that does Scherzer see?
– Does Shin-Soo Choo see any of that? Hunter in left, Dirks as the 4th?
– What do we gain defensively by sliding Cabrera to 1B and putting anyone else at 3rd?
– VMart/Cabrera 1B/DH sounds nice.
– I love Brad Ausmus already. Not sure if he had anything to do with this. But I’m looking for an Ausmus jersey.
1. Jackson, CF
2. Choo, RF
3. Cabrera, 1B
4. Martinez, DH
5. Hunter, RF
6. Kinsler, 2B
7. Avila, C
8. Castellanos, 3B
9. Iglesias, SS