Jon Heyman reported it and Justin Verlander tweeted about it, so it must be happening: Prince Fielder, with his albatross contract and waistline, is headed to a place where everything's bigger in exchange for 31-year-old second baseman Ian Kinsler.
Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler. Reports are that it's a straight-up one-for-one deal.
Fielder is owed $168 million over the next seven years while Ian Kinsler is owed roughly $65 million over the next four. Think about that for a second… Fielder is owed $96 million over the next four seasons. The savings are roughly $30 million the Tigers can factor in on top of whatever they were already budgeting to spend on a Max Scherzer extension and for back-to-back MVP Miguel Cabrera, whose deal expires after the 2015 season.
Cabrera can also move back to first base immediately. Prospect Nick Castellanos presumably would take over at third base. Kinsler obviously replaces Omar Infante at second base, who is much better defensively. The Tigers are automatically better in the field.
Kinsler is somewhat on the decline and is injury prone — he'll be 32 in June — but when healthy, he's a solid ball player, capable of hitting for power (30+ HR twice in 8 years), stealing bases (30+ SB twice) and making plays at second base others can't. (Apropos to nothing, he's been a keeper player for me in fantasy baseball for the last six years.)
I've only had about a half hour to process this, but I'll go on the record as genuinely liking the deal. Dave Dombrowski has earned the benefit of any doubt, no doubt.
Final deal: Detroit trades Prince Fielder + $30M to Texas for Ian Kinsler. TEX gets Prince for 7/$138M, DET gets Kinsler for 4/$62M + $30M.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 21, 2013