Wednesday, November 20, 2013

On Prince Fielder being traded to Texas for Ian Kinsler

People are going to look at this trade as a total win for the Tigers. It probably isn't. Ian Kinsler isn't the same player he was a couple years back. His OPS is down well below .800 (.755 and .749 in '12 and '13). His power numbers have dwindled. He hasn't been effective stealing bases (15-of-26 in '13)and hasn't been the same kind of leadoff hitter.
Prince Fielder might very light it up in that left-hander's delight in Texas.
But I do believe the Tigers did the right thing by trading Fielder to the Rangers Wednesday night for Kinsler.
Fielder's contract was ridiculous and hindering the Tigers as they try to retain priorities as potential free agents Max Scherzer and Miguel Cabrera the next few years. Nick Castellanos, the Tigers' top young prospect, is a third baseman, and he was blocked by the combination of Fielder and Cabrera. The Tigers can simply move Cabrera back to first, put Castellanos at third. Kinsler is technically a downgrade not an upgrade from Omar Infante (.795 OPS in '13), but Infante, like Fielder, hasn't played well in a large sample size in the postseason. Kinsler has been a solid postseason force.
But the key to whether this really is not being done this off season. If the Tigers are going to effectively re-tool themselves, they still need a nearly complete overhaul of the bullpen, fill an outfield spot in left and look at upgrading in center fielder and catcher, with a Austin Jackson and Alex Avila at points nearing free agency where the Tigers either sign them long term or trade them.
But it's very good start, one that, frankly, is a better outcome for moving Fielder than could have possibility been imagined.


Blogger Contrary Guy said...

When Fielder flippantly said that about the fans, I thought "I bet Illitch takes notice of that".

11:23 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Yup Book,

It does look like Kinsler is on the decline side of his career but a fresh change like this might stir him back. He's a not so bad as an Infante replacement. But it sounds like the Tigers are far from done and it feels to me like Kinsler may be part of something even bigger coming - and may never see the home dugout at Comerica.

But Prince was on the verge of being run out of town by Tiger fans. I'm glad we were saved any more lingering drama there.

But now there are more questions than answers about the Tigers in 2014.

1:00 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kinsker is only 31. Players have off years. They can bounce back. To say he is a doengrade over Infante is ridiculous. Better defense, doesnt strike out, etc... A homerun move.

1:59 AM 
Anonymous Mantle said...

What has Castellanos ever done to warrant his big reputation?

8:44 AM 
Blogger Barry said...

Well Pat, I think the trend is the D. I would be surprise Miggy isn't move to first and they trade for a good Defensive 3B (since DD specialty is trading). I thought the Padres or Giants would have been a fit until they sign Johnson and Hudson respectively. The only team that might fit with the Tigers is the Jays. We do need our pennies to sign a closer and set-up guy.

9:44 AM 
Anonymous woody said...

Kinsler's hitting stats outside of Texas are a concern. on most teams, he'd be best fit as a #2 guy with some speed.

seems to be a lot of sentiment that trading Fielder is good riddance. i guess postseason performance trumps everything else for the fans. that could be called the Delmon Young effect.

12:29 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Contrary guy,
I just think it was matter money and production in postseason more than anything else.

12:40 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
The one thing about Kinsler is he did have a good WAR. The measure puts emphasis on base running (things like scoring from second on a base hit and going first to third) and fielding range (statistically, the measures are flawed but getting better). He was 15th in AL in WAR last year. Impressive. It was better than I could have imagined watching him last two years when it seemed like he was losing his tools.

12:42 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

He is in a way. Infante did hit .318 last year, does have good range via the eyeball test and had a significantly better OPS. But Kinsler had a much better WAR.

12:43 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Headley is a definitive possibility, but maybe for LF. I'd give Castellanos a chance

12:44 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

What he did last year as a 21-year-old in Triple A was impressive.

12:45 PM 

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