DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) – The mushroom cloud from the Kinsler-for-Fielder supertrade that blindsided us all still lingers weeks later. As the dust finally begins to settle, we find ourselves punch-drunk, covered in dust, and wondering what exactly just happened.
Did the Rangers actually just pull that off, or was it all a dream? Rangers fans were prepared for a long, drawn out winter full of endless rumors, patient blueprint meditation, and tiny mini-battles – not a massive nuclear bomb before jacket weather officially arrived.
In that single move, the Rangers front office appears to have gained significant clarity in several massively important areas, in what is undoubtedly… well, a massively important offseason. In that lone transaction, their winter agenda became significantly lighter. Let’s run down the check list:
- Find a left-handed power bat for the middle of the order. Check.
- Clear the middle infield logjam and find a regular, every day gig for the incredibly affordable Jurickson Profar. Check.
- Gain financial flexibility by trading away one of your more expensive contracts. Check.
- Solve your lack of first base production. Check.
- Accomplish all of that without overextending the organization either financially, or by trading away too many coveted prospects. Check.
Of course Fielder has a few issues of his own, but he’s still just 29, and with Detroit chipping in a whopping $30 million the Rangers are actually getting him BELOW market value.
If Fielder was a free agent right now, in a power-deprived market where Nelson Cruz (who turns 34 in July) is reportedly seeking 4 years and $75 million – or $18.75 per – Prince at $19.7 is almost WalMart money. National baseball Jedi Jon Morosi of Fox Sports recently speculated on our show that if Fielder was in this free agent market the conversation would likely start at 8 years and $200 million.
The cost-of-power in free agency is astounding. Cruz has just two 24+ home run seasons and has never eclipsed 90 RBI. Fielder, four years younger, already has eight 24+ home run seasons and six 100+ RBI seasons under his belt. If you’re going to spend $18+ million for a power bat, which slugger represents the best buy?
Obviously those two specific players don’t exactly represent an either/or situation, but Cruz’s looming mammoth payday helps illustrate how $138 million for Fielder is actually a (gulp) bargain.
Kinsler’s fire and passion for the game will be sorely missed. He was a core member of an absolute baseball awakening in Arlington. He rode the lead horse in a freakin’ baseball revolution right through the heart of Dallas Cowboys country. But sadly, because many chose to fixate on his propensities to pop up or get picked off, he’ll leave town as one of the most under-appreciated athletes in the history of the Metroplex.
Although it won’t be fun watching the Rangers try to keep him from crossing the plate when playing Detroit, for a team with a massive off-season to-do list, this exceedingly rare superstar swap was the definition of a no-brainer for the Texas.
The right side of the Rangers infield just went from being Kinsler and Moreland to being Profar and Fielder. There’s still plenty of work to do, but in one blindsiding blockbuster power stroke, several off-season boxes instantly received check marks.
The Ben and Skin Show airs weekdays from 2 to 6p on 105.3 The Fan in DFW. Follow “Ben Baseball Ben” on Twitter: @BenRogers
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