July 07, 2015

"The Trade"

Making Sense of "The Trade" in Year Two

This baseball fan was never so excited as the day in January 2012 when the Tigers acquired Prince Fielder as a free agent from the Milwaukee Brewers. It made complete sense: his father was a Detroit Tigers hero, the Tigers needed a powerful left handed hitter, his father was a Detroit ...

Fielder arrived as a hero. 

Prince flew on to the scene as a hero. He said the right things, he signed autographs forever, he hit mammoth batting practice and Spring Training home runs, he seemed to be a good teammate. He was being paid $24 million/season, so he had every reason to be happy.

Fielder was a great addition to the line-up and allowed Miguel Cabrera to face better pitches and his incredible statistics became even better. Fielder's statistics were okay for the Tigers, but not what we would have expected for $24 million/season.

Cabrera benefitted from Fielder, but had to play 3B,

Fielder seemed withdrawn by the end of his time in Detroit and was a worse post season hitter than Dave Winfield ever imagined being. Fielder's 2013 playoff run was incredibly bad and his interview at the end of that run was classic:  "Yeah, probably. But it's over, bro." That is taken a  bit out of context, but you get the point. Read more here.

Prince Fielder went from hero to goat in about 25 minutes. His bellyflop could have been forgiven — maybe. But his comments after the game were so anti–Detroit it wasn't funny. Can you imagine Ben Wallace saying that kind of stuff?

So the November night that the Tigers jettisoned Fielder to Texas for Ian Kinsler was a shock. How could Dave Dombrowski, general manager of the Tigers, find a taker for Fielder. Well, paying $30 million toward the remainder of his contract helped the cause. I was amazed. It was an outstanding trade because it moved the behemoth of a contract that was seemingly unmovable.

Fielder's 2014 season wasn't good and he was injured. Kinsler had a decent season for the Tigers. Now, in year two, Fielder is an All Star, having a great season and Kinsler is scuffling. I still think it was a good deal because Fielder had created a bad situation in Detroit for himself. Good for Fielder having himself a solid season. Kinsler should recover in the second half, but with his mental lapses and poor hitting in 2015, I believe there is more to the story.

In 2016, maybe both ball players will have solid seasons and the trade will work out for both organizations.

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