Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers have agreed to a blockbuster trade, Detroit sending first baseman Prince Fielder to Texas for second baseman Ian Kinsler. The trade is pending physicals and commissioner approval.
Fielder for Kinsler trade has been agreed to. http://t.co/9D3YUw36G5— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 21, 2013
The Tigers have made the deal official.
OFFICIAL: The #Tigers have acquired Ian Kinsler from the Rangers in exchange for Prince Fielder and cash considerations.— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) November 21, 2013
Heyman is also reporting Fielder has waived his limited no-trade clause, which included the Rangers, and agreed to the deal. Considering the large monetary difference in the contracts, Jon Paul Morosi is reporting the Tigers will pay $30 million of Fielder's contract. Heyman has not confirmed if other players are included in the deal.
Their hole at second base now filled by Kinsler, the Tigers are now in need of a first baseman. They do have internal options. Miguel Cabrera may be moved back across the infield to first, with Nick Castellanos sliding back to his original position of third base. Victor Martinez is also an option at first base.
The Rangers' impetus for the deal is their need to make room for highly regarded 20-year-old second baseman Jurickson Profar in their everyday lineup.
Fielder was rumored to be on the trade block last week, the rumblings coming during the GM meetings the Tigers were open to a deal. Though any trade of the 29-year-old Fielder was thought to be a long shot, GM Dave Dombrowski has once again prioved he's the Houdini of MLB executives, trading what was thought to be an untradeable contract.
The Rangers have showed interest in the 29-year-old first baseman before when he became a free agent after the 2011 season, but the Tigers swooped in to sign Fielder to a nine year, $214 million deal in January 2012.
The Rangers inked the 31-year-old Kinsler to a five-year, $75 million contract extension in April of 2012. He's under contract until 2018, the final season a team option. Kinsler will make $57 million over the next four seasons. The final year of his deal is worth $12 million, with a $5 million buyout clause.
Fielder is still owed $24 million a year over the next seven years, the Rangers now on the hook for $168 million until 2020.
In our series on possible off season targets, Rob made the case for Kinsler filling the Tigers' gaping hole at second base.
Since he was called up to the majors in 2006, Kinsler is tied for fourth among all second basemen with 29.1 fWAR. He and Brandon Phillips are the only two second basemen with at least 150 homers and 150 stolen bases during that span. Kinsler has had two 30/30 seasons, in 2009 and 2011. He has excellent plate discipline, with a career 9.6% walk rate and 22.5% O-swing percentage. He's no slouch defensively either, compiling +51 defensive runs saved in his eight seasons.
But there are caveats, as middle infielder rarely age well.
Kinsler is already 31 years old and will be 35 by the time he can become a free agent after the 2017 season. He hasn't shown any signs of decline yet, though he was just 15 for 26 in stolen base attempts last year. Even if Kinsler's 2018 option is bought out, he will still cost his owner more than $60 million over the next five seasons. He is worth the $16 million he will make in 2014 at the moment, but not if his power or speed start to drop off.
We'll update the story as we hear more.
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