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.
The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.
Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.
There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.
That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.
The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.
One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.
Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.