What the heck were they thinking? That is exactly what was on the mind of a majority of Texas Rangers’ fans when they heard their hometown team traded reliable second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers for slugger Prince Fielder, pending a physical.
There is no question this is a horrible acquisition for the Rangers who believe Fielder will be the answer to their recent postseason problems. In reality, Fielder’s horrible contract for a player that has very limited abilities at the plate and even less skills in the field will handcuff the organization for years to come.
I should probably note that I’m a Milwaukee Brewers fan and I have seen Fielder play in person countless times. I’m fully aware that his ability to hit the long ball makes him a huge asset for whichever team he suits up for.
With that being said, Fielder’s numbers are plummeting as he ages, which was a huge concern for many teams who pursued him in free agency two years ago. He posted a .279 batting average, 25 home runs, 106 RBI, 36 doubles, 117 strikeouts, a .457 OBP, .819 OPS and just 1.7 wins above replacement in 624 at-bats in 2013.
The statistic that stands out the most is clearly the 25 homers. Fielder’s biggest attribute is his ability to go yard at any moment. Obviously, Comerica Park is a pitcher’s park, which is one reason why his numbers dropped off. With that being said, the fact that his other statistics have taken a downward turn means that the ballpark he spent a majority of his games over the past two years shouldn’t play as big of a role as people want to believe. On the other hand, it’s true that The Ballpark in Arlington is an extreme hitter’s park, which means his home run totals should increase.
Another reason Texas will surely regret trading for Fielder is because his numbers in the postseason are horrific. It’s no secret that the Rangers believe that the 29-year-old’s bat will get them to the World Series. Unfortunately, that won’t be possible when he’s batting .194 with nonexistent power numbers.
To throw salt in the wound, Fielder’s attitude has gone downhill since he left Milwaukee. His rapport with reporters throughout the postseason was embarrassing for someone who carries as much weight as he does on the team. A player who makes $214 million should have the utmost respect for the media that covers him on a daily basis. After the Tigers were eliminated from the playoffs, Fielder acted as if his poor performance wasn’t a big deal. Unfortunately, the people of Detroit didn’t feel the same way.
As if the situation couldn’t get any worse, the Rangers lose Kinsler in the process. The 31-year-old may not be the most consistent player at the plate in the big leagues, but he brings power to a position that rarely sees it in the majors. Not to mention, he is a tremendous defensive infielder.
If Fielder can’t fight the heat and hit 30-plus homers and 100-plus RBI per season over the next several years then this will go down as a head scratcher for many in Arlington.