Major League Baseball’s offseason has been pretty quiet over the last few weeks with top free agents Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and others still unsigned.
The trade market, however, has reportedly provided the first major move of the winter.
According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, “The Rangers and Tigers have agreed on a blockbuster deal to send Prince Fielder to Texas for Ian Kinsler, pending physical…” He also reports that the deal may be larger than a one-for-one swap, and that “Fielder has a limited no-trade clause that includes the Rangers. But it is believed he is willing to accept the deal.”
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News provided further details:
Multiple sources confirming Kinsler-Fielder is only pending Commissioner's approval. Rangers will get cash back.—
Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) November 21, 2013
It’s no secret that Texas needs to upgrade its offense at first base, and Fielder is among the best hitters in the league at this position. In two seasons (2012-13) with the Tigers, Fielder has averaged 27.5 home runs, 107 RBIs, 82.5 runs, 178 hits and a .296 batting average. Those numbers are much better than what Rangers first basemen Mitch Moreland, Lance Berkman and Jeff Baker put up this past season. However, Fielder’s postseason numbers are not as impressive. In 39 career playoff games, he has a .192 batting average, a .287 on-base percentage, 11 RBIs and 32 strikeouts. Fielder also failed to drive in a single run during the entire 2013 postseason, which ended with the Tigers losing a six-game ALCS series to the Boston Red Sox.
The Tigers’ offense was arguably the best in baseball last season, finishing first or second in runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. There aren’t a lot of second baseman capable of dominating offensively, but Kinsler is one player with this kind of talent. He consistently tallies around 150 hits, 15-20 home runs and anywhere between 65-80 RBIs per season.
This trade has the potential to be a win for both clubs as they prepare for a 2014 season in which anything less than a deep postseason run would be a failure.
Follow Nicholas Goss on Twitter here.