Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Ian Kinsler: Texas Legend. Prince Fielder: Texas Ranger.


Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

As a huge Ian Kinsler fan I am saddened with the news that he has been dealt to the Detroit Tigers for Prince Fielder. In another world I would like to have seen Kinsler retire a Ranger. With the depth in the Texas system up the middle of the infield it was becoming hard to imagine Kinsler staying a Ranger long term. That being said, this is an outstanding deal for the Texas Rangers. Jon Daniels deals from a position of strength to acquire hitter as good or better than any hitter available on the market.

The financial aspect also makes a lot of sense. Fielder is owed 168 million for his age 30 through 36 season at 24 million each year. Kinsler is owed 62 million over the next four years. The Tigers pitched in an extra 30 million in salary relief. This means Texas pays Fielder 138 million over the next seven years and has only added 4 million in salary each year over the life of Kinsler’s four year contract. My initial response to the deal, after total shock, was that this might signal the end of the offseason for Texas. This fear was assuaged as it became clear that between moving Kinsler’s contract and the salary relief that short term the Rangers were not adding much money.

The Rangers grab a big time, middle of the order, power bat that can protect Adrian Beltre. Beltre was incredible last year with very little protection, especially once Nelson Cruz was suspended. Now that Beltre potentially has protection again with a bat the caliber of Prince Fielder he may have even better numbers this coming year. Fielder is coming off a down year, producing only a 122 wRC+, the same as Brian McCann last year. This is a significant fall off for Fielder as in his two previous years, one with Detroit and one with Milwaukee, he slugged 153 and 160 wRC+ respectively. Fielder has a 140 wRC+ for his career. These numbers are better than Robinson Cano’s 142. Fielder is potentially a better hitter than any available free agent.

Once this deal is completed there is obvious fallout. Jurickson Profar should receive a chance to play second base every day but questions remain around the Rangers’s left field and catching positions. The Rangers certainly would have some money left to spend since they have only added 4 million for the coming season. The Rangers’s current salary likely sits around 105 million before the trade and near 110 million afterwards. Jon Daniels claims his target total is the same as last year; roughly 125 million. This leaves a healthy 15 million to spend if Daniels wants to rigidly adhere to his 125 million budget, which is not likely to be the case. It is possible that McCann will sign for 5 years and 80 million, which translates to 16 million a year. This means McCann is not off the table. Carlos

Beltran may be available for 2 or 3 years around 12-15 million a year so he could be an option as well. With both Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo available, Texas could consider going over 100 million and 6 years for one of the two. Ellsbury will likely command 20-25 average annual value while Choo’s AAV will be around 13 or 14 million.

If we want to get really crazy it is not impossible to imagine that Texas grabs two of these players. If Texas signs Ellsbury they are unlikely to sign another player but it is not hard to argue that Texas could sign both McCann and one of the two other outfielders. While I do not expect that Texas will sign two players to play along with Fielder but I do expect that Texas will make another addition.

How about some proposed lineups? First a lineup with the Rangers’s current roster.

  1. Elvis Andrus SS
  2. Leonys Martin CF
  3. Adrian Beltre 3B
  4. Prince Fielder 1B
  5. Alex Rios RF
  6. Geovany Soto C
  7. Mitch Moreland DH
  8. Craig Gentry LF
  9. Jurickson Profar 2B

 

What if Texas acquires Brian McCann?

  1. Elvis Andrus SS
  2. Leonys Martin CF
  3. Prince Fielder 1B
  4. Adrian Beltre 3B
  5. Brian McCann C
  6. Alex Rios RF
  7. Mitch Moreland DH
  8. Craig Gentry LF
  9. Jurickson Profar 2B

 

Perhaps Texas acquires Beltran.

  1. Elvis Andrus SS
  2. Leonys Martin CF
  3. Prince Fielder 1B
  4. Adrian Beltre 3B
  5. Carlos Beltran LF
  6. Alex Rios RF
  7. Geovany Soto C
  8. Mitch Moreland DH
  9. Jurickson Profar 2B

 

What if Texas acquires Ellsbury?

  1. Elvis Andrus SS
  2. Jacoby Ellsbury LF
  3. Adrian Beltre 3B
  4. Prince Fielder 1B
  5. Alex Rios RF
  6. Geovany Soto C
  7. Mitch Moreland DH
  8. Leonys Martin CF
  9. Jurickson Profar 2B

 

Perhaps Texas acquires both McCann and Beltran.

  1. Elvis Andrus SS
  2. Leonys Martin CF
  3. Adrian Beltre 3B
  4. Prince Fielder 1B
  5. Carlos Beltran LF
  6. Brian McCann C
  7. Alex Rios RF
  8. Mitch Moreland DH
  9. Jurickson Profar 2B

Tags: Ian Kinsler Prince Fielder Texas Rangers