Tigers Exchange Albatross For Good Player, Get Even Better

(I decided to break this deal down in two separate posts, because there are too many angles to fit it all into one. Texas fans, we’ll talk about this deal from the Rangers perspective in a separate article.)

The Detroit Tigers were a very good baseball team, but with Omar Infante heading for free agency and too much money committed to other players to keep him around, they had a hole at second base. They also had too many designated hitters, with Victor Martinez‘s presence forcing both Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera to play the field even when they really couldn’t. With Cabrera’s body breaking down in September, it became pretty clear that something had to give, and an obvious solution was moving one of their DHs could open up some money for them to fill their second base hole.

Instead of making a series of smaller transactions that accomplished that goal, the Tigers instead just found a way to directly exchange Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler, filling their hole at second base, freeing up their DH logjam, and saving enough money to potentially keep the rest of their core in tact. This is a pretty fantastic start to the off-season for Dave Dombrowski.

Before we get too much further into the commentary, let’s break down the specifics of what swapping Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler actually works out to.

Fielder is owed another $168 million over the next seven years, paid in annual installments of $24 million. Kinsler is due $62 million over the next four years, but the deal is actually somewhat front-loaded from here, as it’s $16 million in 2014, $16 million in 2015, $14 million in 2016, and then only $11 million in 2017, then a $5 million buyout that will probably be counted against their 2018 budget.

In terms of annual savings, the Tigers are chopping $8 million per year off their payroll for the next two years, then $10 million, then $13 million, then $19 million, and finally the full $24 million for the last years. That’s $106 million in future salary commitments that were shed by exchanging these two contracts. To offset some of that difference, the Tigers will pay $30 million of the remaining $168 million that Fielder is still owed, so their final savings will amount to $76 million in future payroll obligations.

From the Tigers perspective, this can simply be looked at as swapping Fielder for Kinsler and the right to re-spend $76 million on something else. And there’s just no way that’s not a huge win for the Tigers.

Let’s just start with the basics. Steamer projects Ian Kinsler as a +3.3 WAR player in 2014, which is based on him basically playing at the same level he did in 2012 but playing in a few more games. Nothing about this forecast should be all that controversial. His wRC+ is expected to go from 105 to 108, which is exactly halfway in between his 2013 mark and his career mark. It’s forecasting Kinsler for -2 runs relative to an average defensive second baseman, a little lower than his career +1 UZR/150 and basically the same mark he posted last year. This forecast says that Ian Kinsler should be expected to be Ian Kinsler, and over 150 games, that Ian Kinsler is worth a little more than +3 wins relative to a replacement level second baseman, which is basically what the Tigers had a few hours ago.

To get Kinsler, they lose Fielder, who Steamer projects as a +3.7 WAR player next year. Except that projection actually does raise a few eyebrows, as it forecasts a return to his career average wRC+ — a significant bump over what he did last year — and then projects him to post his best baserunning value since 2007 (-3.7, so still bad but less awful than he has been every year since his first season as a regular) and only penalizes him -1 run on defense relative to an average first baseman, far better than his past performances would suggest. I think this is about as generous a forecast for Fielder as you can get, giving him very little penalty for the non-hitting parts of baseball, and believing that his mediocre 2013 season was not the beginning of any kind of long term downwards trend. And even with those positive assumptions, Fielder is still basically a break even player with Kinsler.

Except those numbers are all in a vacuum. In Detroit’s specific circumstance, Kinsler’s value is even higher relative to Fielder due to the alternatives. By moving Fielder, the Tigers can now shift Miguel Cabrera back to first base and pursue a reasonable Major League third baseman, likely making Cabrera a more valuable player going forward and lessening the wear and tear on their franchise hitter. This might even open the door for top prospect Nick Castellanos to shift back to third base, rather than having to battle for outfield time with another veteran acquisition. Opening up first base creates some significant positive benefits for the Tigers, so moving Fielder doesn’t just give them the value they get from Kinsler, but also those additional improvements as well.

And that’s before we even talk about the $76 million in future commitments they just saved. Or, really, just freed up to re-spend, because the Tigers are in a position where they should absolutely be trying to maximize their current roster to try and win a World Series while they have Cabrera and Verlander and the rest of this group in their primes. And that $76 million can either be repurposed to acquire another player — perhaps a left-handed hitting outfielder — or to help the team retain Max Scherzer. The Tigers had apparently been listening to offers for Scherzer because they were unlikely to be able to re-sign him due to their other commitments, but with Fielder’s contract off the books, they should be able to at least consider keeping Scherzer long term now if they want to.

It’s possible that the money they’re sending to Texas will cover most of the differences over the next few years, and all the savings will be in the back-end of the contract, so that they might not have that much extra payroll to spend this winter. But $76 million in future commitments have still be freed up to offer to other players, even if it’s not necessarily all available immediately, and that’s enough to get you in the ballpark for Shin-Soo Choo, who projects as a +3 WAR player himself. Choo won’t sign for $76 million, but maybe he’ll sign for $100 million, so you could describe this trade as Kinsler and 3/4 of Shin-Soo Choo for Prince Fielder.

But maybe that’s too rich for their blood, and they’d rather just throw the entire savings at Curtis Granderson and a closer. You can probably get Granderson and Joe Nathan for less than $76 million. Kinsler, Granderson, and Nathan, or Prince Fielder? These aren’t even close. The answers are glaringly obvious. No one’s taking Fielder in any of these hypotheticals.

The Tigers turned a $168 million +3 WAR player into a $92 million +3 WAR player, once you account for the cash they’re sending to Texas, only the +3 WAR player they’re getting fits their roster better and allows them to keep Miguel Cabrera healthier and opens a spot for their best prospect. And they saved $76 million in the process, which can probably buy them another three wins assuming they spend it decently. There’s a good chance that, at the end of the day, the Tigers will have taken that $168 million they owed Fielder and basically doubled the return they could have expected from keeping him.

If you’re a Tigers fan, this is a deal to celebrate. Don’t worry about narratives like “big bats” and “Cabrera needs protection”, or listen to the criticisms of Kinsler’s good-at-everything-great-at-nothing skillset. The Tigers just made a fantastic trade that sets them up to be even better in 2014 than they were the last two years.

Dave Dombrowski has made a lot of good trades; this might end up being one of his best.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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JayT
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

And they didn’t even need to throw in Max Scherzer!!

;)

Fatty
Guest
Fatty
2 years 6 months ago

I am sure all that Texas BBQ will help his svelte figure and enhance his already amazing fielding and baserunning skills (beached whale at 3B)!!!! Uh, yeah…

Big as Texas
Guest
Big as Texas
2 years 6 months ago

Not that anyone is interested by I’m no longer a Rangers fan. Two blown world series in a row. I’m already a fan of too many perennial losers. Trading away solid player like Kinsler for a has been like Fielder is the last straw. I hope Nelson Cruz signs with the Yankees!

David
Guest
David
2 years 6 months ago

Losing two world series in a row! You must be such a tortured fan base.

Signed,
Cubs fans

Oakland Fan
Guest
Oakland Fan
2 years 6 months ago

This deal makes a fair amount of sense for the Rangers as well. 1B and DH were the team’s 2 weakest position in terms of bat with Lance Berkman and Mitch Moreland taking up the majority of abs in 2013. Whichever position Fielder play he will be an improvement. This deal also solve the middle infielder jam.

Joe F.
Guest
Joe F.
2 years 6 months ago

Mariner and Astro fans in your former-fave-team’s division invite you to suck it.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
2 years 6 months ago

You added the worst defensive 1B of all time though! That’s totally what was needed to take down the A’s!

Just kidding, the Rangers need pitching, they always need pitching. They needed to get a pitcher for Kinsler and did not. The Tigers made their team 10x better defensively and didn’t lose much offensively. They are legit scary now, the Rangers just got their own Pujols.

Mr Punch
Guest
Mr Punch
2 years 6 months ago

Wrong Angels 1B – not Pujols, Vaughn.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
2 years 6 months ago

Good luck finding a better team to root for that will win the World Series every year.
If you know who that is, please let me know before the bookies find out.

Mk
Guest
Mk
2 years 6 months ago

Prince is a vegetarian…

ralph
Guest
ralph
2 years 6 months ago

*Was a vegetarian.

Helladecimal
Guest
Helladecimal
2 years 6 months ago

Grass-fed beef should be OK then

Kris
Guest
Kris
2 years 6 months ago

Was a vegetarian for like a month

KCDaveInLA
Guest
KCDaveInLA
2 years 6 months ago

True fact about vegetarians: they eat more fried food than anyone else.

zsigs
Guest
zsigs
2 years 6 months ago

That eats nachos while playing.

jasonbvt
Guest
jasonbvt
2 years 6 months ago

Uhhh, Fielder’s a vegetarian. So, slow BBQing tofu?

Jeff T
Guest
Jeff T
2 years 6 months ago

BBQ’d tofu? This is why I stick with Klaw’s blog. . . .

ralph
Guest
ralph
2 years 6 months ago

For the record, the above is a reference to Dave’s chat earlier today: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/fangraphs-chat-112013/

You’ll note that he said the Rangers wouldn’t even consider Scherzer and Fielder for Kinsler. So it’s no surprise Dave likes this for the Tigers.

Balthazar
Guest
Balthazar
2 years 6 months ago

Hereafter to referred to as ‘the Whale Deal.’

Philly
Guest
Philly
2 years 6 months ago

How does this affect Kinsler’s fantasy value?

Slats
Guest
Slats
2 years 6 months ago

Can we seriously block this person from FanGraphs?

eayres33
Member
eayres33
2 years 6 months ago

Hey it was kind of funny the first time. The next 100 a little less so.

Old School
Guest
Old School
2 years 6 months ago

You’re not funny.

DBaGiantsFan
Guest
DBaGiantsFan
2 years 6 months ago

Bleacher Report is ——>

Chicago Mark
Guest
Chicago Mark
2 years 6 months ago

I don’t get the responses and negative count on this question. Unless it’s because Dave isn’t a fantasy guy. But then where does Philly ask the question then? Additionally, while I agree with most of Dave’s article, there have to be some questions asked about on the field performance that will effect both players. Kinsler IS 2 years older and in roughly just as much decline as Fielder. Did I read here (FG) somewhere that 2basemen age faster than other positions? Also, aren’t these two trading for very different hitting environments? This will help Fielder maybe less than it hurts Kinsler. I don’t see any big upwards regression for Kinsler at all. And damn the negative count, but Fielder DID protect Cabrera. Who does that now? My guess is we see a pretty big uptick in intentional walks for Cabrera this season. In the end I see the Tigers getting the worse player but then addition by subtraction of one of their DH’s. AND a less demanding position for Cabrera. And $$$ for Scherzer. Of course that is what Dave says. And I agree with “most of what Dave’s article”. Scherzer and Kinsler for Fielder = win. But Kinsler for Fielder = probably loss. More to say…3 Am Chicago….Good night.

Paul
Guest
Paul
2 years 6 months ago

RotoGraphs…

Kraemer_51
Member
Kraemer_51
2 years 6 months ago

Kinsler for Fielder represents a win for Detroit. It’s pretty simple.

Tom Snyder
Guest
Tom Snyder
2 years 6 months ago

Miguel Cabrera’s IBB stats: 2011 (22), 2012 (17), 2013 (19). Highest total was with VMart batting behind him. My guess is they will have him do the same in 2014.

anonynous
Guest
anonynous
2 years 6 months ago

Who cares about Kinsler? I’ve got Fielder in a keeper league. What does this do for his fantasy value?

Adam
Guest
Adam
2 years 6 months ago

I think Ian Kinsler will be able to continue to have the same kind of fantasies as before. For instance, the one where he is a sintar running through the woods to catch a dragon. Or the one where he has the re-united Cosby cast over for dinner.

seenable
Guest
seenable
2 years 6 months ago

Evan Grant @Evan_P_Grant
Cash payments from Detroit will be paid out in 2016-20, so no extra money for #Rangers up front.

Colin
Guest
Colin
2 years 6 months ago

Love the deal no matter what just for shedding the salary. However, what does everyone make of Kinsler’s home/away splits?

Rubén Amaro Jr.
Guest
Rubén Amaro Jr.
2 years 6 months ago

But, but, but…Prince Fielder hits a lot of dingers.

Plucky
Guest
Plucky
2 years 6 months ago
Rubén Amaro Jr.
Guest
Rubén Amaro Jr.
2 years 6 months ago

After hearing Detroit has moved Prince Fielder and his big contract, I have decided to extend Ryan Howard for another five seasons.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
2 years 6 months ago

So does Cabrera get bonus points in next year’s MVP voting for helping his team by changing positions (again)?

Colin
Guest
Colin
2 years 6 months ago

Here comes the threepeat.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
2 years 6 months ago

No, he loses because 1B is the hardest position to win it from, as its the least important defensive spot behind maybe LF.

Rick
Guest
Rick
2 years 6 months ago

*Whoosh*

I think that was the sound of something going over someone’s head.

T
Guest
T
2 years 6 months ago

No, but now you can’t knock him for his defense

JS7
Guest
JS7
2 years 6 months ago

Dave,

Are the Tigers too RH heavy now? Jackson, Hunter, Cabrera, Kinsler, Iglesisas, Castellanos.

Who will they pursue that hits LH?

Colin
Guest
Colin
2 years 6 months ago

Ellsbury AND Choo?

Bartolo Colon
Guest
Bartolo Colon
2 years 6 months ago

You call those RH heavy? Ha! I’ll show you heavy.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 6 months ago

Yeah rarely does a team trade a player of Fielder’s impressive girth and get heavier at *anything*.

I for one am looking forward to Fielder and Hillbilly Jim vs. King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd.

The Typical Idiot Fan
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

Unless they have massive platoon splits, I wouldn’t worry about it.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 6 months ago

Grandy.

Old School
Guest
Old School
2 years 6 months ago

Bad move by the Tigers and strictly for offensive purposes and tactics—the Tigers just took the bat out of Cabrera’s hands now as he’ll get walked at just about every key at bat since Fielder is not an option opposing pitchers will have to face now….the question is, WHO is going to pick up the bat to cover Prince’s absence now? Again, bad move Tigers, bad, bad move but I’ve got to believe that cash was the motivation instead of performance issues…

Detroit boy
Guest
Detroit boy
2 years 6 months ago

Pennies from heaven….WAIT, Million Dollar Bills from heaven!

Dombrowski is the ultimate, shrewd G.M. in baseball. How he continuously pulls off trades that are HEAVILY favored for the Detroit Tigers amazes me. I am SO happy that he was able to shed this HUGE, undeserved contract, and at the same time get a quality player (However still overpaid, but not nearly to the degree of Fielder) in return.

NOW the Tigers WILL get AT LEAST one world series victory in the next few years, and don’t count out multiples.

Shauntell
Guest
Shauntell
2 years 6 months ago

Not even sure Kinsler’s being overpaid, I’d say he has to be worth about 2-3 wins for the next 4 years, seems doable. I think he’d get more as free agent.

Ben
Guest
Ben
2 years 6 months ago

Somewhere… Kinsler just swung on a bad count and popped up. Enjoy

Raff
Guest
Raff
2 years 6 months ago

>>> Dombrowski is the ultimate, shrewd G.M. in baseball.

But wasn’t he involved in the bloated Fielder contract to begin with? If we’re giving him such kudos for this trade — and I agree that we should — shouldn’t we at least acknowledge that Dombrowski was correcting his OWN mistake?

(If the owner forced that signing, that’s another matter.)

Za
Guest
Za
2 years 6 months ago

That was Illitch (sp?) pulling a Steinbrenner swooping in with a ridiculous offer. Dombrowski just “fixed” that move.

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

Shrewd indeed. By my reckoning, he paid Fielder $46M over the past two years, and paid $30M to make him disappear. So Fielder cost Detroit $76M/2. I hope my boss understands that next time I ask him for a $30M check to cover my losses.

Matthew malek
Guest
Matthew malek
2 years 6 months ago

Ahhh..that is absolutely WRONG. They way you should look at it is that Kinsler is simply being paid a bit more. And the 30 mill doesn’t get paid with interest and doesn’t start until 2016 which means that over the next 2 years the Tigers have incredible financial flexibility to sign a Closer like Nathan for 2 years and a Bat like Beltran for 2 year. So basically the Tigers traded Fielder….which they got for NOTHING…..but a comp pick………..and got a stud 2baseman that improves one of their biggest weakness…leadoff hitting….and get a stud closer and Adrian Beltran or Curtis Granderson….who if he comes home will have a big year. This is a NO NO brainer and DD is the best there is. Please remember that Cabrera will have VMART protecting him who is a more dangerous protector because he is a switch hitter. So so many times other teams just walked Cabby and brought in a leftie which guaranteed Prince wouldn’t get a big hit or a HR. Period. WOW. DD is my man.

Robert J. Baumann
Member
Member
2 years 6 months ago

Prince Fielder has a career .267/.347/.457 vs. LHP. I’d say that’s far from “guarantee[ing] Prince wouldn’t get a big hit or a HR.” In 2013 he was .292/.360/.459, so even better than his career. Fielder has simply never had a huge platoon split.

gump
Guest
gump
2 years 6 months ago
The Party Bird
Guest
The Party Bird
2 years 6 months ago

Pitchers intentionally walked Cabrera 22 times in 2011, when he had VMart or Brennan Boesch following him in the lineup. With the almighty thunder of Prince Fielder’s bat behind him, that number went all the way down to 17 in 2012 and 19 in 2013.

If VMart following him in the order means he gets three more IBBs this season, I think the Tigers will look at that and compare it to Ian Kinsler and $76MM and be satisfied with their result.

JavaJim
Guest
JavaJim
2 years 6 months ago

Cabrera had 36 more plate appearances in 2011,so it’s more like two IBBs rather than three. And unless Fielder reverses his decline, I’m not sure there is a difference at all.

jruby
Member
Member
jruby
2 years 6 months ago

Notice that the poster’s name is “Old School.” Pretty sure he’s being intentionally incendiary. I’d expect an argumentative tone otherwise. Then again, I wouldn’t expect anyone who believes that to have read more than a few sentences of the article…

Za
Guest
Za
2 years 6 months ago

It’s prolly Cole Hamels’ account.

Chicago Mark
Guest
Chicago Mark
2 years 6 months ago

When you’re right, you’re right! Damn the negative comments Old School. Good night….again.

Phil
Guest
Phil
2 years 6 months ago

I’m sure the Tigers will very disappointed with Miggy’s 1.000 OBP then

Dusty Baker
Guest
Dusty Baker
2 years 6 months ago

Yeah, but he’s a base-clogger…

the hawk flys
Guest
the hawk flys
2 years 6 months ago

He also kills too many rallys with his damn home runs

Nathan
Guest
Nathan
2 years 6 months ago

First of all, protection is open for a lot of debate.

Second of all, even if you think protection is real and important, look how well Victor Martinez hit in the DH spot last year once he was back in game shape. He can provide ample “protection” for Cabrera (not to mention that the Tigers now have the option to also move Torii or Jackson behind him).

Third of all, Prince was poop last year. So much for protection.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
2 years 6 months ago

“WHO is going to pick up the bat to cover Prince’s absence now?”

Ian Kinsler, a 2-time 30-30 guy?

Matty Brown
Member
Member
Matty Brown
2 years 6 months ago

I can already see Grandy and Nathan on their way to Detroit. Perfect fit for their needs.

NattyB
Guest
NattyB
2 years 6 months ago

How is Grandy a perfect fit for the tigers? Terrible OBP, tons of K’s, poor speed for a CF, poor defense and + power? Ellsbury would be perfect (but no way Tigers could afford him). I agree that Nathan would be perfect.

fdas
Guest
fdas
2 years 6 months ago

He would play LF near the bottom of the order.

Za
Guest
Za
2 years 6 months ago

It’s pretty clear that the Tigers can afford him.

ralph
Guest
ralph
2 years 6 months ago

I wonder what Detroit would have to give up for Aramis Ramirez. Might be their best 3B option all things considered?

DT
Guest
DT
2 years 6 months ago

I wouldn’t pay Prince Fielder $20 a season to play baseball. And how can these sports teams keep paying overrated players $20 million a year to hit a baseball, shoot a basketball or throw a football? Do we pay our soldiers, police, fire fighters, EMS folks, etc. high salaries to risk their lives to protect us? No. We are truly a crazy society and have our priorities upside down.

Frank Wren
Guest
Frank Wren
2 years 6 months ago

The free market and all that jazz.

Worm face
Guest
Worm face
2 years 6 months ago

Yes, but capitalism didn’t account for the market becoming a mass of short sighted mega consumers. When the creator of angry birds is making more money than *insert creator of a useful technology here*, you know there is a problem.

The market right now is pretty darn stupid.

Ruki Motomiya
Guest
Ruki Motomiya
2 years 6 months ago

Everything is worth what it’s purchaser will pay for it.

Chicago Mark
Guest
Chicago Mark
2 years 6 months ago

Aren’t Gates and Jobs (RIP) amongst the richest people IN THE WORLD? WAY OFF TOPIC NOW anyway.

Worm face
Guest
Worm face
2 years 6 months ago

There are plenty of people who make poor buying choices. I’d go as far to say that our rabid consumerist society encourages poor planning and impulse buying. Entertaininment is going to benefit the most from impulse buying. So just because our skewed market is willing to pay for it doesn’t mean that it is right.

Capitalism is by far the best system and works splendidly when the market is both educated and realistic about their purchases. Education and temperance lead to less questionable impulse buying and more thought into purchases. This happened in the US for a long time and led to great things.

Nowadays, you have a large group of people who don’t save, have no concept planning for the future, and would rather buy the newest IPhone than, say, feed their families. This behavior is both encourages and reinforced almost everywhere you look. And this type of short term, quick payoff thinking is leading the US down a scary path.

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

I will spend my salary anyway my wife and I choose to spend it. Most goes for housing, 401k, kids’ education, etc. But part of it goes for BB tickets.

If you find more value in your morning latte and a trip to B&N, so be it. The market probably does not need your advice.

Worm face
Guest
Worm face
2 years 6 months ago

Well, I think the market does need some good advice. You know, since it gets so much bad advice from advertisements. Advice that has left the average US consumer with over $15 thousand in bad debt, vastly increased our ratio of imports to exports, and something about that whole government debt of about $17 trillion.

Most people on this site probably do not have this problem. But to deny what I’ve said is just burying your head in the sand. Just wait until the loans go somewhere else- maybe a growing India or Brazil. At least Canada is a quick escape.

Vince
Guest
Vince
2 years 6 months ago

We were talking about baseball. Goodbye.

Straw Man
Guest
Straw Man
2 years 6 months ago

Worm face, you sound like a socialist. Which isn’t a big deal. Its awesome, in fact. I’m a socialist. But you don’t seem to have yet realized you are a socialist, which may be an issue.

bothdakotas
Guest
bothdakotas
2 years 6 months ago

None of these extremely worthy professions fills an arena, or generates revenue. While its unfortunate they toil on with wages that pale in comparison to athletes, please remember that those in the majors are the absolute pinnacle of athletic talent, and generate a ton of revenue.

In fact, most are underpaid.

yes i concur
Guest
yes i concur
2 years 6 months ago

You can just tell when you see Prince Fielder that he is the ‘absolute pinnacle of athletic talent’, like a GSP, LeBron James or Michael Phelps.

Some are the absolute pinnacle of stupidity and deserve millions too ’cause absolute pinnacles matter.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
2 years 6 months ago

Roughly one million military personnel times $20 million a year each=$20 trillion dollar budget just for military pay.

Tim
Guest
Tim
2 years 6 months ago

So a slight cost savings then.

jruby
Member
Member
jruby
2 years 6 months ago

To further explain the free market stuff: how many people in the country *can* play baseball at a major-league level? Maybe 5,000? It’s not a valuation problem, it’s a scarcity problem.

To wring the example out for all it’s worth: suppose they raise the minimum salary for firefighters to $490,000 tomorrow. You will have 10,000,000 qualified people lined up to go through training. But 5,000,000 of them would say “I’ll do it for only $250,000”! And 2,000,000 of them would do it for $100,000. So we get down to what we need – I dunno, 750,000 firefighters? – getting paid essentially what they get paid now.

Not that such a response was needed, but, what the heck. We’re all for analysis on this site.

Worm face
Guest
Worm face
2 years 6 months ago

I’m sure there are more than 5000 who could have been professional baseball players.

A lmajority of athletes come from low income areas where a career in sports is more attainable and encouraged than a career in something academic or financial. On the flip side, a lot of people who came from well to do households are encouraged to go down the academic or family business path.

I speculate that there are a lot of children who could have been athletes, but their parents pushed them into something else that was more traditional or dependable. For example a child could try very hard to be a surgeon, not have the stones for it, and still settle on being a hospitalist, nurse, PA, etc. If the child shoots to become a professional athlete and fails where does that leave them? Broadcaster? Working for an organization at a mid level position? There’s a much sharper drop off in athletics for that type of time commitment.

cthabeerman
Member
cthabeerman
2 years 6 months ago

Go cry.

-C

Helladecimal
Guest
Helladecimal
2 years 6 months ago

Free jazz and all that market

nada
Guest
nada
2 years 6 months ago

that’s the economic system we should be living under.

Paul
Guest
Paul
2 years 6 months ago

Visit a political website chief…

This site is dedicated to baseball analytics.

Joe R
Guest
Joe R
2 years 6 months ago

Venezuela. That way >>>>>>>

The Party Bird
Guest
The Party Bird
2 years 6 months ago

Given that this is the guy who orchestrated the “a bunch of scrubs for Doug Fister” and the “Cameron Maybin and a bunch of other guys who wound up being scrubs for Miguel Cabrera”, that last sentence may be a bit of an exaggeration. But holy crap, this was an astonishing coup for the Tigers.

This is terrific for Fielder as well. Due to his monumental postseason struggles and his unfortunately chosen words following the Tigers’ elimination, he would probably get something close to the A-Rod treatment from the home fans if he didn’t start 2014 on a tear.

ralph
Guest
ralph
2 years 6 months ago

So do Austin Jackson and Kinsler now have the 1-2 spots in the batting order on lockdown?

k28hill
Member
k28hill
2 years 6 months ago

Kinsler will suffer in Detroit’s stadium. He has improved his defense last several years but he is still a below average defensive 2B.
Fielder will love the porch in RF in Texas and should hit significantly more HR in that bandbox.
Interesting trade on both ends, but I think offensive production and the defensive angle Texas wins on this trade.

JS7
Member
JS7
2 years 6 months ago

Stat cornier says Comerica Park is friendlier to lefties than Arlington.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
2 years 6 months ago

SSS but Kinsler does in fact own a 627 OPS in 36 games at Comerica.

Los
Guest
Los
2 years 6 months ago

Facing the likes of Scherzer, Fister, Verlander, and Sanchez….

weaselpuppy
Guest
weaselpuppy
2 years 6 months ago

You mean the defensive angle where the Rangers get a 5’9 280 lb small target, bad footwork and range 1bman with an incredibly bad dWAR of -2.3, while the Tigers get to move their MVP away from his bad defensive position to a neutral one and lose nothing defensively at 2b over Infante?

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 6 months ago

Prince is 6’0″…

Everything else is correct, though.

Sean Tuxill
Guest
Sean Tuxill
2 years 6 months ago

If Prince weighs 280, then Andre the Giant wore a 44 jacket.

What is that?
Guest
What is that?
2 years 6 months ago

Price is listed at 5’11” which means he is 5’9″.

Colin
Guest
Colin
2 years 6 months ago

Anyone else think that this move is really just a set up for the Tigers to go all LA Dodgers on the market? I feel like a Scherzer and Cabrera extension is coming up followed by the signings of Ellsbury, Choo, Joe Nathan and the trade of Austin Jackson and Rick Porcello.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
2 years 6 months ago

Yes, you are the only one who feels that.

They will probably get Nathan. They aren’t getting Ellsbury or Choo.

Steve
Guest
Steve
2 years 6 months ago

This is a terrible trade for the tigers. Kinsler isn’t good, he’s terrible, especially outside of Texas where he’s posted a career 77 OPS.

JS7
Member
JS7
2 years 6 months ago

A 3.3 WAR in 2013 would have been a top 5 AL 2B.

Kinsler is far from terrible.

Steve
Guest
Steve
2 years 6 months ago

That’s because you put belief in WAR, I don’t because I am a statistician by trade.

JS7
Member
JS7
2 years 6 months ago

So you just judge a player by OPS?

Zero logic.

Jay
Guest
Jay
2 years 6 months ago

And a moron by choice.

nada
Guest
nada
2 years 6 months ago

has anyone else noticed that the number of commenters who claim to be statisticians is staggeringly high?

Helladecimal
Guest
Helladecimal
2 years 6 months ago

Has anyone noticed that the number of defensive twats in the comments section is staggeringly high?

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 6 months ago

Still, better to be a defensive twat than an offensive twat…

nada
Guest
nada
2 years 6 months ago

Why no, I haven’t noticed a surfeit of defensive twats on the comments section. Most people are quite civil and present evidence-based arguments in favor of their positions. To what specific instance could you be referring?

Joe R
Guest
Joe R
2 years 6 months ago

So a neutered version of my job? Cool!

The Party Bird
Guest
The Party Bird
2 years 6 months ago

Remember when everyone said Matt Holliday couldn’t hit outside of Coors? I think Kinsler will adjust. He hits a lot of gappers as well, which plays well in that big ballpark.

Lenard
Guest
Lenard
2 years 6 months ago

I used to put my name as Steve in all my comments and Fangraphs chats, but there was always another idiot named Steve asking all kinds of stupid questions. That must be you.

Steve
Guest
Steve
2 years 6 months ago

Thank god you have now clarified that Lenard brings the wisdom.

Vince
Guest
Vince
2 years 6 months ago

A 77 OPS, huh? For a self-avowed statistician, you’re about as detail-oriented as my cat.

DavidJ
Member
DavidJ
2 years 6 months ago

I know where you’re getting that number from, and I don’t think you know what it means. That’s a 77 OPS+ relative to his own overall performance, not to league average–“terrible” compared to how he’s hit at home, but not terrible overall. His career OPS on the road is .710, which is about what a league average second baseman hits.

Plus, if you are indeed a statistician, you should know that splits like this have to be regressed. You can’t just look at a player’s observed road split and assume that that’s what his true talent would be if he played in a neutral park. That’s the kind of lazy mistake that casual internet commenters make. A “statistician by trade” should know better.

JS7
Member
JS7
2 years 6 months ago

Well look who just got serious about winning. The Tigers window was closing fast. Getting rid of the over-paid glorified DH slams that window wide open. Being able to move guys around will reinvigorate this team. We may actually get a parade down Woodward before my unborn first born graduates college.

Jay29
Guest
Jay29
2 years 6 months ago

Pretty sure this trade will have little impact on the team your unborn child will be watching in high school, but it sure improves your chances for the next 3 to 4 years.

Shankbone
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

Great trade for Detroit. Watching them in the playoffs the past two years I’d say they need to improve their defense and their bullpen. This free’s money and space in the lineup for those factors. I like the comment up above, they need some lefty bat to help balance out some. Lucky for them… there’s at least 3 on the market for the OF alone.

JuanPierreDoesSteroids
Guest
JuanPierreDoesSteroids
2 years 6 months ago

I’ll post basically something similar to what I posted in the other article…

Rangers turned a logjam in the MIF and Mitch Moreland to an every day role and Prince Fielder. For the next 4 years that will add, what, 4 million dollars per year with the $30 million kicked in? So at least in the short term this looks good for them.

But after that, whew! I guess with the new TV money coming in from both the MLB’s new deal with ESPN/TBS and their contract with FSSW kicking in soon they think they can afford it. But damn.

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

What would’ve happened had they simply asked Kinsler to play 1st? One could argue that the extra defensive value and savings in current salary, would offset the loss in offense, and they would be off the hook in four years.

bdhudson
Member
Member
bdhudson
2 years 6 months ago

They did that and he refused to move

Balthazar
Guest
Balthazar
2 years 6 months ago

” . . . [A] fantastic trade that sets them up to be even better in 2014 than they were the last two years.” That is the most amazing part, agreed. $76M in savings; check. Dodge Big Boy’s decline years; check. And on top of that, The Tiges actually are positioned to bring a _better_ 25-man to the park every day in 2014 than if they kept Fielder and stood pat—before they add a single further player to their roster. Huge win of a deal in the overall context for Detroit.

ralph
Guest
ralph
2 years 6 months ago

I know Kinsler will be 36 in 2018, but it’ll only cost $5 million more to keep him for 2018 — seems like there’s pretty good chance the option would be picked up, no?

jruby
Member
Member
jruby
2 years 6 months ago

I think it was a $5 million *buy-out* for then, but your point is still valid – worst case scenario for the last year is eating 5 mil. Which is better than eating 24 mil and doing it again the next year if Fielder’s semi-valueless by then

ralph
Guest
ralph
2 years 6 months ago

We’re both right. In 2018, he has a $10 million club option with a $5 million buyout.

In other words, he’s slated to make $10 million in 2018, unless his team pays him $5 million to become a free agent. So it’ll only cost another $5 million above baseline to keep him in 2018.

ralph
Guest
ralph
2 years 6 months ago

And I definitely agree that this illustrates the freaking hugeness of Fielder’s contract.

There’s a number of ways you could look at the $30M Detroit is paying Texas, made even more complicated by the fact that the payments will be made from 2016 to 2020.

Let’s just add that $30M to Kinsler’s salary to see what kind of money the Tigers are out in exchange for Kinsler playing for them. That’s 4/$92M or 5/$97M depending on whether the option is picked up.

If the Tigers didn’t trade Fielder, the next 4 years would have been 4/$96 — practically the same as the commitments they took on to acquire Kinsler, if they don’t pick up the option.

No one would call signing Kinsler for 4/$92 a good deal right now. But there’s some consensus that it’s a good price for avoiding paying 3/$72 for Fielder the last 3 years of his deal.

(The deal actually looks even better if you look at it under Dave’s paradigm that teams don’t frontload contracts if they can help it, so the $30M just represents re-allocating some of the surplus value that was supposed to have accrued in the first few years of the Fielder deal.)

Will
Guest
Will
2 years 6 months ago

Well it would be nice if you knew what you were talking about before posting an article. Castellanos can not play 3B, no way, no how. Hew was not moved because of Cabrera, he was moved because he stunk. He would make Cabrera look like a Gold Glover. Two, we saved 4 million next year. The bulk of that $76 million is in several years, outside Detroit’s window of winning the World Series. Thirdly, Kinsler is a product of Texas’s park, he has a .710 career OPS outside of Texas Stadium. The Tigers are REALLY going to hate this deal.

jim
Guest
jim
2 years 6 months ago

the clever folks have taken to the fangraphs comments tonight, haven’t they?

JS7
Member
JS7
2 years 6 months ago

So McCann to Texas is next?

Dave
Guest
Dave
2 years 6 months ago

It’s worth at least mentioning that Fielder has played in 160+ games each of the last 4 seasons, while Kinsler has battled injuries consistently throughout his career. That kind of durability has to be worth something.

Los
Guest
Los
2 years 6 months ago

WAR is a counting stat. It counts in there.

ralph
Guest
ralph
2 years 6 months ago

I kinda seriously wonder if this trade happens if there’s no belly flop on the way back to 3B.

Or at least if Fielder’s comments during/after the ALCS had been more like Torii Hunter’s comments — Hunter talked a bunch about how much it hurt. Fielder’s comments deserve to be accurately quoted, so below I’ve included a couple quotes from this article: http://www.mlive.com/tigers/index.ssf/2013/10/prince_fielder_puts_dave_dombr.html

During the ALCS: “If they throw a mistake, I hit it. If not, I won’t. It’s that simple.”

After the ALCS: “It’s not really tough for me. It’s over. I’ve got kids I’ve got to take care of. I’ve got things I’ve got to take care of. For me, it’s over, bro.

Asked about fans maybe not understanding Fielder’s attitude there: “They [the fans] don’t play. I mean, if you have responsibilities it should be, you know, you shouldn’t take your work home, you know? I’ve got to still be a father and take care of my kids, so, you know, I’ve got to move on.”

Colin
Guest
Colin
2 years 6 months ago

Yeah, those kind of statements certainly will not endear you to anyone, except maybe people who had dead beat dads.

Genco Olive Oil
Member
Genco Olive Oil
2 years 6 months ago

I agree with you, Colin: I like that Prince seems to understand that his happiness cannot—and should not be—reliant on the outcome of a baseball game.

What he said wasn’t wrong.

What was wrong, though, is that he decided to say what he said in that particular situation at that specific time. Just because it’s true doesn’t mean it’s always a good time to express it. Your team is in the immediate aftermath of another postseason failure—maybe Prince could’ve waited to play the Big Picture game for a few hours?

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 6 months ago

Or, you know, people with kids.

Tim
Guest
Tim
2 years 6 months ago

Or reasonable life priorities.

Or an understanding that part of being a winning player long-term at any game is putting a loss behind you as quickly as possible.

Jason
Guest
Jason
2 years 6 months ago

Glad to see you post Prince’s direct remarks, which infuriated me at the time.

Aggie E
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

Grow up. The guy competes, otherwise he would not be in the ML..

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 6 months ago

Seriously, he’s missed 13 games total since becoming a regular, 1 game since the start of the 2009 season and he’s played in every game over the last three years.

Z.....
Guest
Z.....
2 years 6 months ago

to be fair, he essentially said that he has kids. if he pouts and acts like a sore loser, it would set the best example for them. Ypu guys are taking these comments way too far. He obviously cares. His point was that its over. Nothing can be done about it now. I’m sure nobody felt worse about how poorly he played in October than he did.

Z.....
Guest
Z.....
2 years 6 months ago

another situation where an edit function would have been helpful…*wouldnt set the best example.

Los
Guest
Los
2 years 6 months ago

Remember when Manny said the same things when the Red Sox were down 3-1 to the Indians in 2007? Who cares? Players don’t owe the fans anything except playing on the field. Sure we pay their salary but we pay for them to play. I work in insurance. My customers essentially pay my salary. If I lose a big account to a competitor, I go home to my kids and they are the ones who remind me that I have more important things in life.

ralph
Guest
ralph
2 years 6 months ago

Bob Nightengale is tweeting that Jon Daniels says Fielder will play 1B, not DH. And that Dombrowski is saying that Cabrera will move back to 1B eventually, but maybe not in 2014.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 6 months ago

Of course he’s playing 1B.

Jake
Guest
Jake
2 years 6 months ago

While I agree with your overall point, you are overlooking the years in these contracts. Some sentences should read: “seven years of a $168 million +3 WAR for four years of a $92 million +3 WAR player.” This makes their annual salary essentially break even, throwing the money out of the equation; that Fielder won’t be a +3 WAR player in the final three years of his contract is a different story. In other words, it’s a win for the Tigers but not an outright steal.

Jason
Guest
Jason
2 years 6 months ago

Dave Cameron is spot-on again. I am THRILLED at this trade. Since the moment the Tigers lost the ALCS, I’ve been hoping that the team could somehow unload Prince, his complaisant attitude, and his ridiculous, crippling contract for a random Double-A prospect.

Instead, Dave Dombrowski goes out and gets them a plus player at a position of need for Prince! What a deal. An unambiguous big win for Detroit.

Also, as I said in the “Scherzer + Fielder trade” thread, Miggy moves back to 1B which is going to help his long-term health and productivity.

Michael
Guest
Michael
2 years 6 months ago

Unless I’m much mistaken, $92 million for 4 years comes out to $23 million a year; $138 million of 7 years comes out to $19.7 million per year. So, while Detroit clears an extra $46 million from their payroll over the life of Fielder’s deal, they are actually spending more for these 4 years. Note here that it’s 138-92 = 46 million saved, as opposed to your 76 million. They would have paid Fielder and Kinsler the same $23 million a year over 4 years. Granderson and Nathan are going to be signed for short term deals. You really think the Tigers needed that $46 million that they saved in this deal to add to the payroll these next couple of years?

Kinsler just had two down years (by his standards) in a row, plays a more physically demanding position, is older, and relies far more on his athleticism (and defense, something that fluctuates far more than offense) to be productive than Fielder does.

Fielder seems like a better bet to produce simply because all of his value is tied up in his bat, and this year not withstanding, it’s an elite bat. Being able to DH certainly helps his value.

Calling Fielder an albatross is silly, and somewhat hypocritical. You’ve just produced multiple articles talking about how you would expect some of these deals to look crappy on the back end, but worth it on the front end. Fielder isn’t going to be worth his $19.7 million a year over the next handful of years?

Texas replaces Kinsler with Profar, Moreland with Fielder. This is a win. Detroit replaces Infante with Kinsler, and Fielder with Castellanos. I’m not sure this is a win.

This is not a vacuum. Texas has money to spend. So much, it sounds like, that they may add a couple of reasonably high priced guys on top of Fielder. If Detroit had money to spend, even before they made this deal and saved $46 million, wouldn’t they have been better off keeping Fielder and adding to payroll?

Line ups DO matter. Replacing Kinsler with Profar and Moreland with Fielder fits Texas’ current line up so much better. Replacing Fielder and Infante with Kinsler and Castellanos does not.

ralph
Guest
ralph
2 years 6 months ago

While I agree with your general point (and tend to think the Tigers will pick up Kinsler’s 2018 option for a mere $5 million extra, thus making Kinsler’s price more like 5/$97 million), I think you’re double-counting the $30 million in there.

The Tigers had these choices:
Fielder at 7/$168M
Kinsler (including the $30M going to Texas) at 4/$92M or 5/$97M

The Rangers had these choices:
Fielder (including the $30M going to Texas) at 7/$138M
Kinsler at 4/$62 or 5/$67

Unless I’m mistaken somewhere.

Michael
Guest
Michael
2 years 6 months ago

No, you’re right, for sure…

Will
Guest
Will
2 years 6 months ago

The Tigers won’t pick up his option because he’ll be a terrible player by then. Wait, too late. He is already.

Aggie E
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

Cameron hates all bat players. its not a suprise he would say its a Detroit win. if Detroit sent texas 80 million he would say its a Detroit win too..

FrankieSaysShoveIt
Guest
FrankieSaysShoveIt
2 years 6 months ago

Did you actually read the article?

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

The problem with your analysis is that practically everyone considers this a win for Detroit. I had said previously that, in order to dump Fielder, that it would cost about $70M, with me valuing Fielder at about $15M a year over the remainder of his contract. Dumping in at a cost of $30M is a great move, imo.

Eric
Guest
Eric
2 years 6 months ago

Figuring Fielder’s salary obligations at $108 million over his age 30 thru age 36 seasons, Fielder will have to compile 18.0 WAR over that time to break even performance-wise (do I have to thank Billy Wilder for that adjective? Blame it on Rand Paul!).

Looking at the top ten players who compare with Prince Fielder from Baseball-reference.com:

Eddie Murray (21.0 WAR); Mark Teixeira (11.0 for ages 30 thru 33); Boog Powell (9.5); Orlando Cepeda (10.7); Barry Bonds (56.8 – I think some of that is pre PED); Jose Canseco (11.7 – ain’t none of that clean!); Shawn Green (4.5); Greg Luzinski (7.1); Darryl Strawberry (1.0); Hal Trosky (0.6 – could have been higher but for World War II).

The average WAR: 13.4. Taking out Teixera (he hasn’t completed his “trial”), the average WAR 13.7. Let’s call it 13.5. Only Eddie Murray and Barry Bonds outperformed that average WAR. Say what you want about Bonds, I think he would have outperformed that 13.4 WAR without the PEDs. That’s 2 players out of 9 – 22% odds that Fielder outperforms his 13.4 WAR break-even threshold. That’s going to be a high bar to jump over, especially for someone who’s 5′-9″ and pushing 3 bills.

The virtue of peddling Ian Kinsler for Texas is opening second base for Jurickson Profar. But there will be some risk. The double play combination of Andrus/Profar may take a couple of years to gel, and it seem s that Texas is in a win now mode. GM Jon Daniels needs to find a catcher and a closer to get back to where they were before the trade—and that’s on the outside of the playoff picture, looking in.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 6 months ago

Teixeira missed basically the entire year with a wrist injury from the WBC.

Eric
Guest
Eric
2 years 6 months ago

Thanks for the reply, Cool Lester Smooth.

I left out Teixeira from Prince Fielder’s list of comps because of his age – Teixeira is only 33, he still has four years to go. But it is reasonable to assume that he will come back to form and perform at a level that will push his WAR total above 13.5 over his age 30 to 36 seasons. That would make three comps out of ten who outperformed 13.5 WAR for their age 30 to 36 seasons. Fielder’s chances of outperforming his contract will jump to 30%.

What makes Dave Dombrowski so amazing is that he was pushed into over-paying for Prince Fielder a couple of years ago when Victor Martinez was injured and missed the entire 2012 season. Dombrowski needed Prince Fielder for the 2012 pennant chase and kept him as an insurance policy for the 2013 season. Now Dombrowski doesn’t need Prince Fielder as much as he needs someone to play second base, so he found a trade partner in Jon Daniels to fill the shopping list. Dombrowski also dumped some salary so he can shop for a closer and a left-handed bat.

As a White Sox fan, I’m proud of the work that Dave Dombrowski has done with the Marlins and the Tigers (he got his start working in the White Sox front office with former White Sox GM Roland Hemond). Also, as a White Sox fan, will anybody take Adam Dunn off our hands? His top ten comparable list and their respective WAR value for their age 34 season from baseball-reference.com:

Harmon Killebrew (4.9 WAR); Jose Canseco (2.7); Jim Thome (0.2); Reggie Jackson (4.8); Rocky Colavito (0.2); Andruw Jones (0.9); Dale Murphy (0.9); Boog Powell (-0.5); Greg Luzinski (n/a — he retired after his age 33 season); Mike Schmidt (7.0).

At $15 million for salary, Dunn has to be slightly better than an average DH – 2.5 WAR – to outperform his salary (figuring $6 M per WAR). There’s Killebrew, Jackson, Mike Schmidt, and even Jose Canseco. That’s four out of ten: 40% chance that Dunn will outperform his contract next year! There should be a stampede of general managers busting down GM Rick Hahn’s door to get one year of Adam Dunn.

Michael
Guest
Michael
2 years 6 months ago

I would still argue that Detroit doesn’t need that $76 million in order to still spend on payroll this year. It spared itself 3 years of Fielder’s 35-37 at $25 million, but the first 4 years are essentially even in terms of money spent, and it’s money that the Tigers have, regardless.

DJ Slack
Guest
DJ Slack
2 years 6 months ago

Being a Ranger fan since 1993, I am happy to see Kinsler go. Looking at his “body of work” it appears that he is a “good at everything, great at nothing player”, but if you watch 150 games a year you see some glaring issues:

1) Kinsler has a huge upper cut swing. He pops/flys out more than anyone in baseball, and it always seems to happen when you need a big hit, or you need a productive out.
– 2013 – 307 times out of 545 ABs – 56%
– 2012 – 352 times out of 655 ABs – 54%

2) He is a terrible base runner, He’s led or been at the top of the league in:
– 2013 – Can’t find online, but it’s 6+
– 2012 – 6 times
– 2011 – 6 times

3) He “dogs” it down the line 95% of the time

4) He is a lazy fielder and the majority of his errors are because he doesn’t get his glove down or tries to do everything with one hand.

I will gladly eat some salary that our two billion dollar co-owners could care less about to get a career .389 OBP power hitter who walks close as many times as he strikes out.

I wish him the best in DET, but I’m happy to see him go.

Jay
Guest
Jay
2 years 6 months ago

Nice to see Fangraphs finally keeping track of DoggingIt%.

Stringer
Guest
Stringer
2 years 6 months ago

What the hell is this 6 times base running crap?

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 6 months ago

Clearly, he ran the bases 6+ times in 2013. Which is totally correct!

#NewFangledSTATS

nada
Guest
nada
2 years 6 months ago

6+ times is entirely too many. If you compare with Fielder’s 24 StB (Stumbled the Bases) and 122 lJtB (lightly Jogged the Bases), you can really see Prince’s superiority on the base paths. And we’re not even considering his 20+ BFtB (Belly-Flopped the Bases).

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 6 months ago

Eddy Stanky would have called Kinsler an All Star from the neck down. Never saw a player make so many bone headed players on defense and on the basepaths with the game on the line.

Eric
Guest
Eric
2 years 6 months ago

From the Detroit perspective, the Tigers are going to pay Kinsler $92 million for his age 32 to age 35 seasons. At $6 M per WAR, Kinsler has to put up 15.3 WAR over the next four seasons to break even – performance-wise (special thanks go out to Billy Wilder for that adjective).

Kinsler’s to ten comparative players include Aaron Hill and Brandon Phillips who are too young for any sensible evaluation (Hill is 31, same as Kinsler, and Phillips is 32). The rest of the comps with their age 32 thru 35 seasons are:

Joe Gordon (19.5 WAR), Jeff Kent (22.2); Chase Utley (10.2, yeah, I know he’s too young, too, but he’s played thru age 34); Bobby Grich (15.1); Jose Vidro (0.8); Gil McDougald (3.1); Dave Johnson (1.8); and Todd Zeile (7.7).

The average value for Kinsler’s comps for their age 32-35 seasons is 10.1 WAR. Three of the eight players exceeded the 15.3 break even WAR: Gordon, Kent and Grich. One could estimate that Kinsler has a 38% chance of “exceeding expectations” (I should give JK Rowling a shout out here). Assuming that Kinsler stays healthy, I like his chances.

From the Mike Illich perspective, does this trade push Detroit closer to a World Series title?

Defensively, a double play combination of Iglesias/Kinsler is about as good as Peralta/Infante. Offensively they are about the same—Kinsler is better than Infante, but Iglesias is not as good as Peralta. With the move Dombrowski has the money to look for a LH bat or two and a closer to push the Tigers closer to a World Series title.

I would like to nominate Dave Dombrowski for the 2015 “executive of the year” award, and I would like to offer the suggestion that the “executive of the year” award in the American League be named the Dave Dombrowski award. The senior circuit can have the Branch Rickey award.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 6 months ago

Iglesias is way better than Peralta.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 6 months ago

(Defensively, I mean. He can’t hit.)

Eric Feczko
Guest
Eric Feczko
2 years 6 months ago

I think that was his point as well. Kinsler is below average, but Iglesias is above average defensively. The poster also noted that Iglesias is worse offensively than peralta:

“Offensively they are about the same—Kinsler is better than Infante, but Iglesias is not as good as Peralta.”

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 6 months ago

I guess the Tigers are betting that Kinsler is the lesser of 2 evils. Fielder has the potential to be even worse.

Not sure they keep Kinsler at 2B. They could move him to 1B and get another 2Bman, maybe even Cano. V-Mart is in the last year of his contract, Hunter is getting old, Iggy can’t hit, so they need some more offense to surround Cabrera down the road.

Johnny
Guest
Johnny
2 years 6 months ago

They are going to go hard after Choo. Guaranteed

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 6 months ago

Why not just bring back Grandy? He’ll be cheaper, he’s less awful defensively and he’s already a fan favorite.

chief00
Guest
chief00
2 years 6 months ago

OBP, perhaps?

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 6 months ago

Grandy’s got a career .340 OBP and, more importantly, he’ll be much, much less expensive than Choo.

Jeffrey
Guest
Jeffrey
2 years 6 months ago

What about kinsler’s horrible career road numbers?

-.710 road OPS

And it’s not like fielder can’t produce a lot of value quickly with his bat.

I think the deal is a little more fair to both teams than your initial analysis here.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 6 months ago

Comerica is actually not much worse on RHH than Arlington.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 6 months ago

Only 50 points worse than Pedroia on the road. Kinsler was the guy they had to take to dump Fielder, not they guy they really wanted. Its not like they can’t move Kinsler at some point, although they might have to eat some salary.

Ruki Motomiya
Guest
Ruki Motomiya
2 years 6 months ago

“The Tigers can now shift Miguel Cabrera back to first base and pursue a reasonable Major League third baseman, likely making Cabrera a more valuable player going forward and lessening the wear and tear on their franchise hitter. ”

Using FanGraphs positional adjustment, Miggy has been better at 3B than 1B defensively (See: This year’s -14.8 being better than 3 of the last 4 years Miggy played 1B primarily according to FanGraphs). They’ll move him off, but only because they don’t want him getting hurt: He is more valuable at 3B than 1B. Unless positional adjustment is just crap.

I really hope the Tigers get Granderson. A return to the Tigers would be great and an even better OF! Or, while it’d never happen, Cano shifting to 3B and signing, just so that we can have an INSANE lineup.

Stringer
Guest
Stringer
2 years 6 months ago

I don’t understand UZR with first baseman. Last year, it had Cabrera at like -3 or so for his years at first base, but now it’s ballooned down? When the hell did it get adjusted?

Eric Feczko
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Eric Feczko
2 years 6 months ago

Cabrera’s def numbers at 1B were driven entirely by differences in positional adjustment. In terms of the raw fielding numbers, there’s no question that he is much better at 1B than at 3B; in fact his 2013 year was the fifth worst defensive season by a third baseman over the past decade.

While Cabrera may be more valuable at 3B in a vacuum, he’s a terrible choice for a third baseman when designing a roster/lineup. Prince fielder was worth 2.7 wins, and is probably worth less than 4 wins at 1B. Miguel Cabrera upgrades the 1B position by about 2-3 wins. Out of all qualified third-basemen last year, 14 had at least 2 WAR.

With Castellanos in the minors, and potentially a few average/above average third basemen available over the next couple of years. I’d say the Tigers positioned themselves nicely to gain some extra value by shifting Cabrera over to an easier defensive position, even if Cabrera’s own value drops.

An Albatross
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An Albatross
2 years 6 months ago

I’m insulted by the metaphor.

hk
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hk
2 years 6 months ago

I get that Dave’s analysis is strictly about yesterday’s trade, but it is worth noting that Detroit essentially paid $76M (less in present value if you want to discount the future $30M payments) and their 2012 1st round pick for 2 years of Prince Fielder, then traded him for 4 years and $62M of Kinsler, a player who Dave projects to be overpaid by ~$18M during those 4 years….and Dombrowski is being called the genius.

Biff
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Biff
2 years 6 months ago

Most people in Detroit think Illitch basically forced the Fielder signing after Martinez went down with an injury for a year. I doubt Dombrowski wanted anything to do with that contract in the first place.

Steve-o
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Steve-o
2 years 6 months ago

Fangraphs, ignore the articles, stay for the sycophants.

Tim
Guest
Tim
2 years 6 months ago

It will be interesting to see if it still looks like a win for Detroit when that money is spent. I have a suspicion that they’ve just traded $30m for the right to overpay different guys.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
2 years 6 months ago

Detroit goes from:

Cabrera-Iglesias-?-Fielder to Castellanos-Iglesias-Kinsler-Cabrera

Texas goes from:

Beltre-Andrus-Kinsler-Moreland to Beltre-Andrus-Profar-Fielder

Detroit owned this trade, they have to be delighted to get rid of that awful Fielder contract. He is quite literally, the worst defensive 1B in decades.

Los
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Los
2 years 6 months ago

I think this is a pretty interesting case study on long term deals. Everyone knows that long term contracts are supposed to be valuable up front and an albatross at the end.

One assumption we have to make for this “analysis” to hold is that Ian Kinsler had a market contract (ie 0 trade value). If we make that assumption, we can look at the Fielder signing and trade as two separate contracts.

At the end of 2011 season: Fielder signs for 2 years @ $38.0 Million each with $30,000,000 deferred.
At the end of 2013 season: Fielder signs for 7 years @ $19.7 Million

The problem with this deal was that is was ill-conceived at the time of signing so there was arguably dead money from the start.

The two comps I can think of (in terms of length and contract size) are Vernon Wells (horrendous over-pay by the Angels) and Arod (who was an absolute steal for the Yankees at the price they paid).

people to cake ratio
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people to cake ratio
2 years 6 months ago

i’m not exactly sure if this is the best place to post this comment, but i’ll give it a go anyway.

ok, so clearly allowing cabrera to move back to first is a good thing, provided they don’t somehow get worse defensively at third. but, can i throw out a baseless hypothesis?

the detroit tigers signing prince fielder before the 2012 season made miguel cabrera better.

before everybody grabs the torches and pitchforks, i’m not talking about lineup protection or clubhouse intangibles. what i mean is that before fielder arrived, cabrera was a very good-to-great hitter, historically speaking, and a poor defensive first baseman. any objections to that assessment? in 2009-2011, the three years prior to fielder’s arrival and a decent sample size, he put up a slash line of .332/.421/.583 and averaged 42 doubles, 34 home runs and 6 WAR (18.1 total) a season (.423 wOBA and 163 wRC+ for those that prefer those metrics).

once fielder came aboard, those same stats improved to .338/.417/.636 with 33 doubles, 44 home runs and 7.2 WAR (14.4 total) a season (.435 wOBA and 178 wRC+).

now, this is pure conjecture, but it’s possible that bringing fielder to the tigers and asking cabrera to move to third forced him to commit himself to getting in better shape to play the field. he would need to drop some weight and improve his quickness/agility to whatever extent possible in the 3 months before the season started.

it could follow that by improving his level of fitness (potentially dropping some weight – i don’t know if he did or not), it’s possible he gained some quickness in his swing. if this hypothesis were true, it’s not that he got stronger and could muscle more pitches out of the park; it’s that he was getting around quicker on pitches and/or better able to square up the ball for contact.

you’ll note that he went from 42 doubles/34 home runs to 33 doubles/44 home runs in the two arbitrary intervals i’ve selected. it appears that he turned (pun sort of intended) 9-10 doubles a year into home runs. we’ve seen some articles here about cabrera’s hitting, and in particular i’m thinking of this one: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/miguel-cabreras-most-incredible-strength/

in that article, we’re treated to gifs of four cabrera home runs, and there’s one sentence i want to cite: “These are his four most inside home runs, and they’re all from the past two seasons.”

again, if the hypothesis were true that forcing cabrera to get in better shape to move from first to third base, and one of the results of that better level of fitness was improved quickness (in the field and at bat), isn’t this a logical consequence? that he would be able to turn on pitches thrown far inside off the plate faster than ever and hit them for home runs? granted, eyeballing his strike zone charts from brooks baseball didn’t seem to confirm an improvement in any particular area of the strike zone, so there’s that contra evidence to the matter.

please take this comment with a grain of salt because i do not have the necessary data to back up this hypothesis, only a pleasing narrative to help explain the jump in his skill at the plate over the last two years. but, perhaps it’s something to look into more closely, for those that have a better way to dissect the data from the past half-decade or so.

full disclosure: i’m a tigers fan, so this may bias my view of the situation.

RC
Guest
RC
2 years 6 months ago

David Ortiz showed a significant improvement in his ability to hit lefties when Adrian Gonzalez showed up, so there is some precedence for players improving in the context of other good players showing up.

Cabrera is an extremely gifted hitter, but its possible that there were things that Fielder does in a more technically proficient way than Cabrera did, and some of those things have rubbed off.

Ricola
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Ricola
2 years 6 months ago

Huge stretch to say that. It’s either (and most likely) a coincidence, or if Cabrera’s improvement were indeed the result of him getting in better shape, then it doesn’t make sense to assign agency to Prince for that. Hypothetically, you would have had the same result if Cabrera decided to get into better shape for any number of reasons, like his wife wanted him to, or he read something on the internet that freaked him out, or he had a dream where he was visited by a iridescent spiritwalker who warned him that bad things would happen if he didn’t, etc.

Jim Bouldin
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Jim Bouldin
2 years 6 months ago

Might be important to remember that Fielder was acquired only when V. Martinez was certain to be out for the year (2012). Dombrowski may well have looked at the situation as +/- an experiment from the outset. Now that that experiment hasn’t gone all that well, and Martinez showed himself still capable of hitting the baseball, particularly in important situations, DD decided to go in another direction. He was willing to over-pay at the time, and now he’s willing to eat about $30 million to get Kinsler.

Another thing to consider is that Ausmus might be more prone, or at least open, to the concept of small ball than Leyland was, and Kinsler most certainly can help the cause on that score much more than Fielder.

Ven
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Ven
2 years 6 months ago

I think the one thing people are overlooking is the fact that the Tigers saved $30M+ not having to resign Omar Infante to produce Kinsler level stats at 2B or go with a replacement level or worse 2b. That alone cancels out the $30M amount the Tigers paid.

RC
Guest
RC
2 years 6 months ago

To be fair, I think its much more likely that Prince puts up 3.7 WAR this year, than that Kinsler comes anywhere near the amount of games that steamer projects him for.

Kinsler looks pretty close to cooked to me.

BigCelio
Guest
BigCelio
2 years 6 months ago

Should DET be worried about Kinsler’s Home/Away splits? They’re effectively paying him $92 Million (considering the $30 Mil they are sending Texas)

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

The way I see it, they are basically trading similar assets for the next four years. Fielder at ($25M – $7.5M) = $17.5M for a 3.7 WAR. Kinsler at $14.25M for a 3.6 WAR. At that point, I would still give Detroit the advantage, but it is close enough to break even.

But after those four years are over, Texas will be paying Fielder $25M a year for 3 years to be a mediocre DH.

I think, over the long-term, Texas gets hurt in this deal.

tz
Guest
tz
2 years 6 months ago

I’d love to see the Rangers sign Colon, just to watch him and Fielder both going after a bunt.

triple_r
Member
Member
2 years 6 months ago

Fielder, who Steamer projects

I hate to be a Grammar Nazi, but c’mon, Cameron.

Green Mountain Boy
Guest
Green Mountain Boy
2 years 6 months ago

Interesting trade. If you leave the money out of it and just compare Kinsler 2014 to Fielder 2014, I’d say Texas got the best of it. Yeah, Fielder had a down year, but was going through a divorce. He should resume raking next year in Texas. Yeah, I know he’s calorie-challenged, but his bat speed looked good to me last year despite his post-season slump. Kinsler? Who knows what you’re going to get, but I don’t think it’s the 20+ HR and 100+ RBI version of 3 years ago. Whatever percentage of WAR he derives from speed has to go downhill over the next 3 years. To my eyes, that makes him a league-average 2B.

That said, elsewhere on the diamond, DET got the best of it. However they hash out the Miggy/V-Mart/3B issue, they should be better off than TEX, with Andrus/Profar (neither of those guys get me excited) rather than Andrus/Kinsler.

But money does matter, and DET clearly got the best of it there too. Now they can keep Scherzer and still sign a 3B type FA (Peralta?) or fill from within.

Trade winner? You got me. Ask me again in 5 years.

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

You lost me after ‘ If you leave the money out of it’.

If you leave money out of it, I would trade Middlebrooks for Pujols.

Dirck
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Dirck
2 years 6 months ago

It’s unusual for a trade involving 2 players of this caliber ,but the effect that this will have on other players on both teams might outweigh what the 2 traded players do .For Texas ,I love that they solved their MI logjam by trading Kinsler instead of Profar ,who if he performs like a lot of people seem to think he can,will be an upgrade over Kinsler . Left handed power at 1Bor DH was a big need for Texas .For Detroit ,moving one of their 3 DH’s for a very good and much less expensive 2B ,gives the team much more flexibility in the lineup and maybe even more importantly in their payroll .This deal has the potential to be a win-win ,and I hope it works out that way .

mattb2485
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mattb2485
2 years 6 months ago

Fielder was gonna make $23M this year, Kinsler will make $16M. So only $7M chopped off. Consider the Tigers already were looking at a payroll around $155M for 2014 without a single addition and really that $7M now only gets them to $148M…or what their 2013 payroll was. This does not leave room to go on a spending spree. Maybe they move Porcello still and then decide to add more payroll. But also consider that 2013’s $148M payroll was $15M higher than any payroll in Tigers’ team history.

Don’t expect them to suddenly become the Yankees or Dodgers here. They will have a limit to what they can spend.

I don’t see this as the Tigers having $76M to just go spend on Granderson and Nathan. More they needed to cut payroll some to have any breathing room whatsoever. Definitely think Nathan is possible but both Nathan and Granderson? Seems very unlikely even if they move Porcello.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 6 months ago

I have them with about 40 million to spend before they have to worry about hitting the luxury tax threshold. Some money coming off the books next year with Vmart and Hunter, which will offset what they have to give Scherzer if he stays.

It may be that the Tigers best chance for a championship is next year. They need offense and a better pen. The 2013 ALCS shows that good starting pitching is not enough.

They may just turn around and trade Kinsler. Then they can go after Cano, Choo and Nathan or Rodney.

Thrust
Guest
Thrust
2 years 6 months ago

OPS+ really seems to benefit the Rangers

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

I agree that the money saved really helps Detroit win this deal.

However, it is wrong to think that Kinsler is going to hit the same as he did in the hitter’s park. His batting line against RHP looks nice, but when you look at it on the road, it is only .235/.304/.393/.697. He has not hit well at all on the road, .242/.312/.399/.712 career, that is closer to what you can expect when he’s with Detroit, and that is not worth that much WAR.

Still, the win is the savings in money that they can now use to keep Scherzer around, that is the win in this situation, assuming they can pull it off and sign him. However, they should have had some idea how much they would need to pay Scherzer to get him to stay and used that as part of the calculus in crafting this trade deal. As long as Scherzer don’t get greedy, they should be able to make a deal with him.

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