Challenge Trade!

Both teams take risks in the Prince Fielder-Ian Kinsler deal. Is it possible that both teams can win? (AP Images)

Both teams take risks in the Prince Fielder-Ian Kinsler deal. Is it possible that both teams can win? (AP Images)

And here I was thinking the Javier Lopez signing was big news. It was, in a way — Lopez at $4 million AAV for three years is a pretty fantastic deal for the Giants, all things considered — but everyone’s talking about the challenge trade of the offseason: second baseman Ian Kinsler, formerly of the Texas Rangers, for first baseman/designated hitter Prince Fielder, formerly of the Detroit Tigers.

In a deal that’s just begging for a Detroit/Texas ALCS in 2014, the Tigers in one fell swoop moved themselves out of any imagined participation in the Cano sweepstakes, signaled that Omar Infante will likely be finding other employment this winter, secured a new position for back-to-back American League MVP Miguel Cabrera across the diamond at first base (where he should have been all along) and perhaps heralded the return of top prospect Nick Castellanos to third base. It moves one of the three designated hitters that Detroit has on its roster for an asset at a position of need (aging and possibly overpaid though he may be), and it allows one of the other designated hitters to move leftward on the defensive spectrum. Makes sense from Detroit’s side, as long as Kinsler keeps producing.

Meanwhile, in Texas, the middle infield logjam is suddenly wide open. Jurickson Profar will play second, Elvis Andrus will play short, Prince Fielder is the new first baseman/designated hitter, and the Rangers have the impact power bat that some (including me) have been agitating for them to add for about 18 months. Losing Kinsler’s bat hurts, but Profar needs a spot to play. Kinsler’s numbers aren’t anywhere near as pretty from a first baseman or left fielder (where the Rangers could have moved him) as they are from a second baseman. Moving Elvis Andrus’ contract is dubious, even if Texas were interested in trading him, so Kinsler realistically was the odd man out in that middle infield, unless Profar suddenly was going to learn how to play center. This trade is a much better solution to the Rangers’ problem, considering that media reports have the Tigers kicking in around $30 million to cover part of the payroll difference. Makes perfect sense from Texas’ side, as long as Prince Fielder — whose “down year” was a 120 OPS+ — continues to produce.

That’s why it’s such a fantastic challenge trade – need for need, straight up, and we get to see who performs better over the life of the deal. Like all great challenge trades, the crucial thing is that both sides can win.

26 thoughts on “Challenge Trade!

  1. Trade sounds good for Detroit, frees up money for Max, Miggy, etc. but who will bat 4th?. Trade opens a gapping home in the line up.

  2. I did not like this trade. I felt Fielder deserved one more year (3 years) with the Tigers. Every conversation I had about Prince always started with his contract (I don’t care – I don’t own the team). But, I think he really blew it with his comments after being eliminated by Boston (If you don’t have anything good to say, keep your thoughts to yourself). We’ll miss his bat & the way he & Miggy celebrated!

    • How did u knw he didn’t care? Because he wasn’t throwing stuff and acting like a baby? He’s a grown man providing a good example for his kids.

      • Showing emotion isn’t a sign of immaturity. As a fan its nice to see players show that they care about their performance. Makes you think they’re not just half-assing it once they get that big contract.

  3. This deal means Omar Infante worths nothing for Detroit and he’ll be out soon… Miggy will be moved to first again? Who will be third baseman? If Miggy stays on third base, who will be first baseman? Even though Detroit needed to free up some cash, this is such a bad deal and Tigers will regret it because Nick Castellanos is not ready for major league even he has “killed” minor leagues. He does not fill up Miggy’s or Prince’s shoes… Tigers are stepping backward in the road to another world series…

  4. The Rangers came up on that so called “FAT ASS” is what some happy tigers fan said about Prince. I think the tigers jacked up by trading him. Ya they still have Cabrera but they lost that 1,2 punch. Sorry tiger fans but y’all just traded away your world series chances! No wonder your manager retired, he knew the team was going to deal prince. So he knew the tigers wouldn’t make it there again, so what is the next best thing for Da Man? Hang it up because its a wrap for you tigers fans!!! Tahahahaa GO BLUE!!!

  5. Hate to see Prince go but Texas will love him hitting homers into “Tiger Stadium’s” upper deck. Bat KInsler second, move Hunter to bat third and the line-up remains solid…and Max will be back.

  6. This has all the crystal ball readers jumping. Based on recent history – this is great trade for both teams. Kinsler has great speed, solid glove, near the top of the lineup bat and he takes pitches to work pitchers. The occasional power is dynamite. Best 2nd baseman in baseball only behind Cano.
    Fielder need to spotlight all to himself and Texas will give him that. Rangers need him to bomb away and with Cruz and Beltre around him…this is major 3,4,5 hitter combo. With Gentry and Elvis on base in front of these guys with Profar getting a chance to play and yet not forced to carry the load…the 30 million cash from Detroit makes this a solid deal for both teams and yet doesn’t hurt either pulling the string. Prince will sweat in Texas heat, but at 29, he should be in prime form. I love Moreland as DH and spot starts at first. This has potential to be monster deal for Rangers. We need Soto to hit better and we are contending again.
    AT the end of the day I wanted Matt Adams from St. Louis but apparently I was the only one who did. This is great deal for everyone. Kinsler is needed, Profar gets to play everyday, and Elvis is solidified in Dallas, Cruz has to like the protection so he can hammer away and Beltre is proving his worth again and again as the best Ranger of them all.

    • Best second basemen behind Cano? Did you miss the World Series winning second basemen this year who played 161+ games injured?

    • Dustin Pedroia is a better 2B than Ian Kinsler, and on his team maybe more valuable than Cano is to the Yankees.

  7. I’m a rangers fan and when I heard they were trading away Ian kinsler I was sick to my stomach! Kinsler is a leader in the clubhouse. Tigers fans should be excited to be getting such a great player! The tigers needed to unload some of their salaries and this trade solves that problem and gives them a great bat in return.


    Kinsler will gain weight
    Fielder will lose weight

  9. As a Ranger Fan I don’t like this trade at all. Kinsler is a great guy for us. He will do great in Detroit. We can only hope that Fielder’s worst year wasn’t the sign of his decline. Even with the money ($30 M from Detroit) the Fielder money with the number of years is a bad thing, chances are he’ll be a dead weight by the time the contract ends. The reason the Rangers didn’t get him as a free agent was the amount of years for that total money. The same reason we didn’t resign Hamilton. Profar didn’t look like a major league player last year and just because he doesn’t have to play multiple positions won’t automatically make him one. Moreland had a very bad second half but he’s a better firstbaseman than Fielder and had as much power. Hope I’m wrong but it sure doesn’t feel like the Rangers are a better team with this deal.

    • The reason Rangers never signed Hamilton had a lot to do with Nolan’s big mouth his criticism on Hamilton during the 2012 allstar break had a lot to do with Hamilton going to Los Angelas and that’s probably the reason Nolan is no longer with Texas as well .

  10. Good trade for the Rangers. Prince can get away from his personal troubles and return to dominating. One bad season means it’s a decline.

  11. If Fielder is the primary DH, I like this trade from an offensive point of view. That being said, I dislike it in every other way. Kinsler played tremendous defense, offense, and a great guy off the field. Detroit got a heck of a ball player and an even better man. Wish Kins the best in Detroit, and Prince the best here.

  12. 2 great franchises that made smart aggressive moves, it seems to me the edge goes to Detroit, just slightly though. It would be fun to watch if both did make the ALCS. How will Prince handle that Texas heat I wonder?

  13. I said this several times, for the Rangers # was 64. In games that Ranger pitching gave up 3 or less runs, there are 74 of them, a record of 16-58 is proof of failure to produce runs. Take away the 10 wins @ 3 runs, and that leaves 64 games and a 6 and 58 record. Got to produce runs, as they didn’t face Verlander 64 times.

  14. Nobody is considering the bad hitters ballpark Detroit verses Texas a great home run park for Fielder.. He will easily hit 40 homers there. I think in the end Prince will do well in Texas.. Good for him players who sign up for money and go to bad hitters ballparks ( Hamilton LA Angels ) will pay for it in Stats Prince will do well in Texas.. Kinsler’s power numbers will decrease hope he like hitting singles.

  15. Bet most Texas fans aren’t aware that Prince Fielder is setting a new record for himself each time he plays in a game. He DOES NOT sit out any games. He’s played in just over 500 consecutive games and in the next couple of years will enter the top ten list of players with the longest streaks. I personally believe this is a detriment to his career and overall worthiness through a single season. He’s not very fast as we all know and yet he will NOT be replaced on the bases (at least that’s the way it was in Detroit) even with the game on the line, he’s on second and there’s two out in the bottom of the ninth. Nope, the never sent in a pinch runner for him that I can remember.

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