The offseason roared into full gear on Wednesday as the Tigers and Rangers completed a one-for-one swap of Prince Fielder and Ian Kinsler. Whenever a big deal like this goes down, the first thing everyone wants to know is "Who won the trade?"
While no one actually knows who will come out ahead in this deal for some time, there are plenty of baseball writers who have dipped their foot in the water and at least made a tentative stab at the subject. The general consensus seems to be that both teams are the better for making the trade, though a few seem to think that one team came out ahead a bit more than the other.
Here's a quick breakdown of some of the #hottakes:
Good for everybody
Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports:
Ultimately, this trade will be about two things: How Fielder ages and what comes of the $76 million in salary relief for the Tigers. The calculus of most trades reveals itself within a year, maybe two; this one could take a half-decade, which, in the meantime, renders it something of a win-win – with Texas the bigger of the wins.
Sam Miller, Baseball Prospectus:
This trade makes more good baseball. This trade is practically not even about Fielder or Kinsler, so much as the players who will be freed to be their best selves ... The same way that a good housing market makes people suddenly richer, this trade makes baseball suddenly better.
It’s a fun trade. What a fun trade. If there’s any downside to this trade, it’s that every dumb fake trade any of us propose gets instantly more credible.
Jesse Spector, Sporting News:
The Tigers go from a 2.4-WAR player in Infante to a 5.0-WAR player in Kinsler at second base by Baseball Reference’s calculations, while Cabrera’s departure from third base in favor of a replacement player leads to an upgrade of 1.5 defensive WAR at that position.
The Rangers, meanwhile, upgrade their power and make room for one of the game’s top prospects in the middle infield. It’s actually not that hard to see how this deal came together as quickly as it did.
Dayn Perry, CBS Sports:
In total, this is a sensible deal for both teams. For Texas, it's a much-needed near-term upgrade at a bat-first position, and for Detroit they have, in a roundabout way, addressed one of the team's most glaring weaknesses -- the infield defense.
To state the obvious, the story of this trade won't be written for a long time, but in these very early moments it looks like one of those elusive win-win arrangements.
Peter Gammons, Daily Gammons:
Right away, this deal makes sense. The Rangers need power in the middle of their lineup...
It also makes a lot of sense for the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera can go to first base, where his injuries won’t betray his defensive effort as they did last year, and Nick Castellanos can move home to third base...
In many ways, this was the perfect storm for two franchises that feel that the time has come today to win it all.
Good for Rangers
Keith Law, ESPN:
In the pending deal that sends Kinsler to the Tigers and Prince Fielder plus $30 million to the Rangers, Texas gets the better end of the trade in baseball terms, I think, but that assumes that Fielder's miserable 2013 was more about bad luck and personal troubles than a sudden, early collapse of his skills at age 29.
Brad, Lone Star Ball:
While on a basic WAR per dollar this deal looks sketchy and has the potential to look awful, the Rangers have managed to improve an element of their team that is one of the hardest to improve and without going crazy overboard to do it while, oh by the way, freeing up a positional log jam at the same time.
Good for Tigers
Jon Morosi, FOX Sports:
[Tigers fans] never completely warmed to Fielder and will name streets after Dombrowski (and revered owner Mike Ilitch) if the savings result in a long-term contract for popular Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer.
Buster Olney, ESPN:
The biggest thing ... is that the Tigers escape $138 million in salary obligation to a player who has either started sliding on the downslope of his career, or will soon. The Tigers’ payroll situation immediately improves, at a time when they must find ways to pay Max Scherzer and Miguel Cabrera in the years ahead. Their payroll flexibility gets better, their infield defense gets better.
This is a great deal for Detroit.
Rob Rogacki, Bless You Boys:
With Fielder off first base, the Tigers have much more flexibility defensively. Miguel Cabrera could slide back over to first, freeing up Nick Castellanos to return to the infield at third. Victor Martinez could play first base on a more regular basis, which would give the Tigers increased lineup flexibility at the designated hitter spot.
Somewhere in the middle
Grant Brisbee, Baseball Nation:
Goodness, the Rangers are taking on a risk here. But it makes sense. It's not dull! And it makes sense. The Rangers are gambling the next three or four years of Prince Fielder, Elvis Andrus, and Profar are going to be better than the next three or four years of Kinsler, whatever the extra money going to Fielder would buy, and whatever they could have nabbed for Andrus or Profar.
I'm not sure if I take that risk. But it was getting slow around here. I'm glad the Rangers did.