The Ian Kinsler/Prince Fielder trade is going to have ripple effects.
Of course it is. One of the reasons the Brewers picked ahead of the Tigers in the 2002 draft is because they selected Allen Levrault off waivers before the 2001 season. Levrault was awful, and the Brewers were awful enough to get the #7 pick in 2002, where Fielder was waiting. The Allen Levrault waiver claim made ripples in the baseball timeline, so you can be sure the Kinsler/Fielder trade is going to weird things up.
We can at least guess the short-term effects, though. The Tigers aren't looking for a second baseman, they have more money to spend, and they have space on the roster for a prospect. The Rangers have a new first baseman, more long-term money tied up, and space for a prospect.
Let's look at specific players, though, whose agents had to work on Wednesday night instead of … okay, they were probably going to work, regardless. Still, they started working on something different because of Kinsler/Fielder.
Moreland was strangely overrated coming out of the minors, with his only significant pro success coming as a 23-year-old in the Cal League. Somehow, he turned that into 1,560 plate appearances and a long-running starting gig. He's the DH in Texas for now. The Rangers are still looking for offense, but they can make room in the outfield. They don't have to move him, and the odds are at least decent he stays put.
Danged if he doesn't have what-do-the-Rays-want-with-him sheen, though. James Loney had it last year. The Rays are usually pretty good with that, and they're usually right.
Either way, Moreland has moved from TRADECON 4 to TRADECON 2 or 3. Will anyone bite? Those Cal League numbers from 2009, everyone. Focus on those.
I'm not sure if the Tigers are automatically going to funnel the saved money to Scherzer. They've seen things we haven't seen, and maybe, just maybe, the Tigers are wary of committing over $300 million to two pitchers and hoping they both age like Maddux and Smoltz. But it's still possible the money saved on Fielder goes to Scherzer, as quite a few people expect.
Think about Miguel Cabrera, though. He's going to be a free agent after 2015, just as he turns 33. There will be at least someone who gambles that he'll age like Edgar Martinez and pay accordingly. With Fielder, the Tigers still would have been in the mix. Without Fielder, the Tigers are going to be driving the conversation.
Heck, maybe they get them both. When you sell pizzas three for $3 like Mike Ilitch, you have enough money to do anything. But the money doesn't go to Scherzer unless there's something in reserve for Cabrera. Fielder helps them do both.
The Tigers aren't signing Cano. They could move Kinsler to first or third, or maybe flip him to another team. But they aren't.
The Rangers aren't signing Cano. They just committed a substantial amount of money to Prince Fielder. They made room for Jurickson Profar.
But as mystery teams, they do pretty well, especially the Tigers. With this trade, they're reestablished their willingness to be bold and/or insane. Why not Andrus for Matt Kemp followed by a Cano signing? Why not move Kinsler to make room for Cano, who would replace Fielder at a similar price, except he'd be good? You're not asking these questions. But there's at least two more mystery teams to help the Yankees bid against themselves, even if slightly.
He didn't have a tremendous year in Triple-A, but he was 21, and he's still one of the very best prospects in baseball. The Tigers were messing around with him in the outfield last year for obvious reasons, but he just moved from trade bait in every awful mock-trade scenario at the deadline to the starting third baseman.
Oh, and Jurickson Profar might win a spot with the Rangers, too. Forgot about that guy.
Dammit, never end with the least-exciting player.
I feel bad for Infante, though. He's a pretty good player who just lost a bidder for his services. I can still see the Orioles or Royals bidding for him, or the Yankees if Cano hoses them. But 24 hours ago, I would have given him a 90-percent chance of going back to Detroit. It was an easy, comfortable fit.
The reciprocal part of this, though, is that some team is going to sign a very nice second baseman for less money than he deserves. I understand why the Tigers made the move. But considering Infante is probably better than Kinsler right now, it's not like they're immediately better. We'll have to see what they do with the savings.
In the future, all of these moves will change weather patterns and make it so your grandson is never born. Just for next year, though, starters were made, prospects were welcomed to starting roles, and free agents were nudged closer to a different team. This was a normal offseason just a few hours ago. This was a normal offseason ...
For more on the WAIT NO WHAT from the Rangers' perspective, please visit Lone Star Ball