Tigers, Rangers discussing trade that could involve Prince Fielder, Ian Kinsler

10 Comments

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.

Max Scherzer will not be ready for Opening Day

Getty Images
1 Comment

Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.

[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.

He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.

Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

Getty Images
12 Comments

Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.