Rangers Trade is a BIG Deal
Before I say one word about the Rangers trade I have to admit I’ve never been a big Prince Fielder fan. Mostly I can’t get past a professional athlete who looks like the guy who delivered my new couch last week. Fielder has always been way too fat to be an athlete. Sure he hit a bunch of homers and knocked in a ton of runs…but think what he COULD have done if he were in shape?
Sidebar: When I was working at Channel 5 years ago, a woman asked if she could intern for us since she majored in journalism and her husband was in Japan playing baseball so she had a lot of time on her hands. She also had a nine-month old baby. We said sure..turns out she’s Cecil Fielder’s wife and the (not so) little kid in the stroller was Prince. I still regret not signing him to a contract to make me his agent!
All of that aside, I think the Rangers made a great deal. Fielder for second baseman Ian Kinsler (plus $30 million from the Tigers). First they needed to loosen up the logjam in the middle infield and keeping the much younger Jurickson Profar over Kinsler makes a lot of sense. Profar is all about potential at this point and the Rangers need to find out what he can do on a daily basis. Kinsler was always a top player for the Rangers, the kind every good team needs but the key to success in pro sports is knowing when you have to move from veteran players to youngsters.
The 32-year-old Kinsler is at an age when almost all infielders start to decline. Profar should be in the Rangers lineup for the next 8-10 years. He and Elvis Andrus could make the best up-the-middle infielders in baseball within a year or two. So all of that is good for the Rangers without Kinsler.
What does Prince give Texas? They admitted that two big off-season needs for them were a left-handed power hitter and a first baseman. Done and done. The move makes Mitch Moreland available for trades, or DH and with the way the ball flies out to right field at Rangers Ballpark, Fielder should hit over 30 homers in 2014.
His numbers were down last year, .279 average, 25 homers and 106 rbi’s, but as Jon Daniels stated…that’s why he was available. If Fielder can come close to his career averages of 36 homers and 109 rbi’s, the Rangers will be more than happy. And for a guy so obviously out of shape, he’s shockingly durable, only missing one game in the last five years.
Money is an issue, even though the Tigers sent $30 million to the Rangers in the deal, Texas is still committed to $138 million over the next 7 years for Fielder. At just 29 Fielder would seem to have several more good years left in him, but he’ll have to drop some weight. He’s listed at 275 pounds on his 5’11” frame, but he hasn’t seen 275 since his 17th birthday. If he could play around 240-250, his durability will stay with him as he gets older.
Ron Washington says he plans to keep Adrian Beltre in the cleanup spot, so Fielder will be good protection for Beltre just like he was for Miguel Cabrera in Detroit.
Kinsler was one of the most popular Rangers players but then so was Josh Hamilton until he left town. Fans get over that stuff like yesterday’s paper. A slimmed down, power hitting Prince could become Rangers royalty as soon as next summer.