Whenever a trade in professional sports happen, especially one as big as the blockbuster that sent Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers and Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers, we always obsess ourselves with wondering who “won” the trade.
You have your lopsided trades, where a team THINKS they are getting a good player OR some top prospects and the superstar that you gave up was worth it….but eventually the prospects never work out or the player that you got never fit in with his new team, whatever the reason.
This Kinsler-Fielder trade seemed to be as one-sided as ever during the 2014 season.
Kinsler flourished in his first season with his new team, getting comfortable in that #2 hole hitting ahead of the game’s best pure hitter, Miguel Cabrera, and Fielder played in just 42 games before undergoing season-ending neck surgery in May.
The Rangers thought that they were getting the player that played in at least 157 games every season from 2006-13′.
He didn’t even have 157 plate appearances.
While Kinsler was enjoying a career high in hits (188) and his fifth career 100-run season, Fielder had an extra four months to think about his disappointing first season with his new team, and why he was even ON a new team.
He signed a nine-year deal with the Tigers before the 2012 season, so it was odd to see him get traded only two years in.
Maybe it was his bad postseason, when he had only 1 extra-base hit and not one RBI during the 13′ ALDS and ALCS.
Fielder let it be known that he was never fully healthy during the 14′ campaign and it showed. Coming into spring training this season, he said that he’s never felt better.
And it’s showing.
He had a lackluster April, along with the entire Rangers team, as they started 7-14, but they have been creeping towards that .500 mark and could possibly be in the race in the “up in the air” AL West.
Fielder has been the main reason. Sure, Shin-Soo Choo has heated up, Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus are finally playing the way they are capable of, and newcomer (an old friend?) Josh Hamilton has ignited the team, but Fielder has carried this team for the past week or so.
Kinsler had a good April, as he did basically what he was supposed to do — get on base for the big guys. The only knock was that he still hasn’t hit a HR yet. He has 213 PA’s this season. That is by far the longest drought of his career. In 2008 (while with the Rangers), he had 89 PA’s before finally hitting one.
Lately, he has really been scuffling.
Since May 18th, he’s posted a brutal .111/.217/.166 line with just 2 RBIs. He has more walks (six) than…well, everything.
Compare that to Fielder’s numbers since May 19th (the Rangers were off on the 18th).
Fielder has posted an impressive .418/.444/.860 line with 5 HRs and 15 RBIs in that span.
Just for perspective, Fielder’s batting average (.361) is almost identical to Kinsler’s slugging percentage (.364).
Kinsler finished last season with 92 RBIs, which is a career high, but this year he is only projected to finish with about 59.
At least, according to MLB.com Fantasy.
There’s no way Fielder can keep going at the rate that he is, but if he can carry this Rangers team to a playoff berth, we might have to reconsider who won the big trade.
Last year, my money was on Kinsler. This year, it’s on Fielder.
It could be a case of Kinsler being cold at the same that Fielder is hot, so it might not be fair to judge it at this very moment. Let’s look back in a couple of months.
– Khristian Peel