The recent trade of Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler was a blockbuster in terms of names, but not so much a fair trade. Why the Rangers would trade one of the players that was the heart and soul of their team is beyond me. Good second basemen are hard to come by, whereas you can plug a lot of power hitters at first and not lose much.
Prince definitely has the ability to be a formidable middle-of-the-lineup threat, but it is hard to imagine a better situation for a hitter than having Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez around you. Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton are a close second though. Prince may have felt pressure in Detroit, unlike in Milwaukee, but there will be just as much pressure to produce in Texas.
The Rangers could very well have kept Mike Napoli last off season and had him at first base, while having Kinsler at second still. Instead, Napoli has a World Series ring and Texas now has to eat Fielder’s contract while hoping he plays like the way he is getting paid. It’s not like they didn’t get a quality player though. Prince Fielder is a home run threat every time he steps in the box and has the ability to hit more home runs than Kinsler.
In Detroit, the Tigers get rid of a player who was struggling, can plug Martinez at first base, and also get a great team player in Kinsler. He may be a scrappy ballplayer, but he is one of the hard-nosed players that are hard to come by these days. He is a great defender and can hit anywhere in the lineup. I’m tempted to put him in the same category as Dustin Pedroia, but that might be bit of a stretch. The Tigers definitely upgraded their team. Kinsler has more versatility and has a greater arsenal of tools. The Tigers are a team built to win right now, and they couldn’t afford to wait around for Prince to find his stroke again to help contribute the way they thought he would.
Texas seemed to have made a desperation move in order to jump start their team. As good a player as Kinsler was, their current team was not getting the job done. They needed a change in their lineup, and if Prince can return to form, this trade will definitely have paid off. They now have a plethora of power hitters that has no excuse to fail except that they can’t see past the dollar signs and zeroes in their contracts. Ron Washington might be able to coach up Prince in a way that Jim Leyland couldn’t. Relying on the long ball is a risky move for any team, as an offense is extremely limited if it isn’t there, but that seems to be what the Rangers are going to do.
It is always strange seeing big name players playing in new uniforms, and hopefully they embrace their new teams in a positive manner. After all, it is about the name on the front of the jersey and not the back. Maybe that’s why the Red Sox only have their last names on their uniforms half the time. It’s obviously not true for the Yankees unless you are Derek Jeter. Regardless of what team Prince Fielder and Ian Kinsler are playing for, they are still huge contributors to their respective teams. It was a one for one trade for a reason, and both teams feel they came out better off than they were before. We’re only a few short months away from finding out.