It seems that more times than not, the blockbusters that come together relatively early in the offseason are mutually beneficial. The trade involving Prince Fielder coming to Texas and Ian Kinsler going to Detroit, as confirmed to ESPN, is a prime example.
Fielder gives the Rangers a big-time power hitter at first base, something they haven't had since Mark Teixeira was traded at the deadline in 2007. That deal set the Rangers on a path to two straight World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011, but without a consistent run-producer at first base. Fielder's numbers declined a bit in 2013 as his OPS and batting average declined. But he still had 25 homers and 106 RBIs, something that certainly would help a lineup that didn't score enough runs.
Fielder, 29, has a track record of power, productivity and reliability, having played at least 157 games in all of his eight full seasons in the big leagues.
This isn’t the first time Texas has tried to get Fielder. They met with him and his agent, Scott Boras, nearly two years ago in a Dallas-area hotel before Fielder signed his nine-year, $214 million deal with the Tigers. One key component of the trade is how much of that money the Tigers will pay.
The move also frees up the logjam at middle infield, allowing Jurickson Profar to slide into second base with Elvis Andrus at shortstop. The Rangers still need to address the outfield and must find another catcher, but they've bolstered the offense.
Kinsler, 31, gives the Tigers a second baseman and allows them to save some money by unloading Fielder. That money could go toward re-signing Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. Kinsler is owed $62 million guaranteed over the next four years (the fifth year is a club option or buyout).
For the Rangers, this immediately gives them that middle-of-the-order presence that was the top priority this offseason. The offense lagged last season in terms of scoring runs consistently and missed having power hitters Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli in the lineup. When Nelson Cruz departed for 50 games because of a PED suspension, the lineup got even lighter.
Fielder's big bat should help that.