Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that the Tigers and Rangers have discussed a trade that would send first baseman Prince Fielder to the Rangers and second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Tigers.
In terms of OPS, the Rangers had the second-worst production from their first baseman in the American League, beating only the Yankees, .700 to .690. They used Mitch Moreland for a majority of games there but he could only muster a .736 OPS. Meanwhile, Fielder finished with a career-low .819 OPS, but even that would have been a significant upgrade for the Rangers.
The Rangers also have a glut of middle infielders and are looking to deal from depth to address other areas. Trading Kinsler to the Tigers would open up second base for Jurickson Profar. The Tigers got average production at second base in 2013, utilizing Omar Infante there for the most part. Infante is expected to draw interest from a handful of teams and the Tigers may not want to get involved in a bidding war for a player worth between 0.9 and 2.4 WAR over the last four seasons, according to Baseball Reference. Kinsler logged in at 4.9 in 2013 and as much as 7.0 back in 2011.
Fielder’s contract would be one hurdle to clear. The Tigers signed him to a nine-year, $214 million contract in January 2012. He still has $168 million remaining as well as a limited no-trade clause. Kinsler is signed through 2017 with an option for 2018. He is still owed $62 million, but his contract was front-loaded, so his salary gradually decreases throughout the remainder of the deal.
You may recall that, back in May, Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor got into a fight with Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. Bautista slid late into second base, with which Odor took issue, so he punched Bautista in the face. That earned him a seven-game suspension.
With one out in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against the Indians, Odor reached on a fielding error by first baseman Mike Napoli. Jonathan Lucroy then hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Odor slid hard into Jason Kipnis covering second base.
Kipnis, hearkening back to the Bautista fight, backed up as if he were afraid Odor would punch him. Odor got a good chuckle out of it, but it was the Rangers’ bench which perhaps enjoyed the joke most. The Rangers’ broadcast showing Adrian Beltre cracking up and telling his other teammates what had happened.
Rangers outfielder Carlos Gomez made his debut with his new team on Thursday night after a brief stint with Triple-A Round Rock. He started in left field and was inserted into the number eight spot in the Rangers’ batting order.
The Rangers made two quick outs in the bottom of the second inning, with Adrian Beltre grounding out and Rougned Odor striking out. But the inning was kept alive as Jonathan Lucroy singled and advanced to second base on a wild pitch, and then Mitch Moreland walked to bring up Gomez.
Gomez took a first-pitch cutter from Josh Tomlin for a ball, then jumped on another cut fastball, drilling it for a no-doubt three-run home run into the seats in left field at Globe Life Park in Arlington (#29 out of 30 in Craig’s ballpark name rankings).
Here’s the video.