A blockbuster trade occurred this week in the MLB when the Detroit Tigers traded Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler. This is a trade that helps out quite a few parties and makes sense in a lot in different ways. The Tigers now get a huge amount of money off the payroll that they can use to try to sign their star pitcher, Max Scherzer. They can now also move Miguel Cabrera to first base where he is less of a liability. Their defense, which was a bit of an issue, has gotten a lot better with Kinsler. Detroit also now has a player who can steal a base or two.
The Rangers get a solid bat in the lineup to hit in front of Adrian Beltre and give him protection. Their ballpark is also more built for Fielder’s power. The Rangers can also put Jurickson Profar on a regular basis in the lineup. Profar hasn’t really had a chance to play second much because of Kinsler. Again, the Rangers have gotten younger and a lot better defensively. There is one other team that this trade somewhat inadvertently helps, and that would be the Boston Red Sox.
The Rangers were one of the teams that were very interested in free agent first baseman Mike Napoli, and it was potentially a solid fit. Napoli had played there before, and the Rangers could have afforded what Napoli was asking for. He also has shown a lot of people that he could be a solid first baseman defensively. Now that the Rangers have gotten Fielder, there is absolutely no need for them to go after Napoli. This could help Boston’s chances immensely, because one of the main suitors for Napoli is now out of the picture.
It has seemed lately that first basemen who are signed to big contracts aren’t working out well. Adrian Gonzalez and Albert Pujols are two such players who received an enormous amount of money, and the teams that signed them ended up regretting those bloated contracts. Fielder is another one who turned off a lot of people in Detroit by having an absolutely terrible ALCS offensively and a somewhat lackadaisical attitude about getting eliminated by the Red Sox. Also, power hitters tend to decline rather dramatically, and Detroit may have felt that this year was the beginning of that decline.
Napoli has said that he absolutely wants to come back to Boston, and now it looks a lot more likely that could happen.