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

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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.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”