The first big move of the offseason was a sudden and surprising one. The Detroit Tigers and the Texas Rangers swapped two high-priced stars on Wednesday. Prince Fielder and $168 million went to Arlington, while Ian Kinsler and his $69 million deal went to Motown.
Both teams benefit from this deal. The Tigers can now extend reigning AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and can strengthen their defense by moving Miguel Cabrera back to first. The Rangers finally got the power bat they’ve needed.
It also may help the Yankees, as the trade may take both teams out of the running for Robinson Cano. Going into the offseason, I considered the Tigers and Rangers the primary opponents in the wooing of Cano. After this trade, it doesn’t make much sense for either team to sign him.
Kinsler is one of the better overall second baseman in the game, so it’s unlikely Detroit would move him to another position or flip him elsewhere to get Cano. They made the Fielder trade to give Max Scherzer an extension, so it’s hard to see them going after #24 with second locked up for the next five years.
Texas, on the other hand, is a more interesting story. Their new TV deal allows them more financial muscle, and besides Fielder, they don’t have many long-term financial commitments to players. They may go after Cano, but they very well may not. The Rangers have been trying to move Kinsler for a while in order to break in Jurickson Profar, one of the top prospects in all of baseball. It’s hard to see them commit over $300 million to two players for the next seven years
Rather than taking on two albatross contracts, the Rangers could decide to go after other top free agents that fills their other needs: catcher and outfielder. Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran could fill these holes and make their lineup deeper and less expensive.
This trade makes Cano in either Motown or Dallas/Ft. Worth illogical and unlikely. Doesn’t make sense financially or structurally. It sure does help the Yankees’ chances of retaining their superstar though.