Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Trade Analysis: Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder

The first blockbuster of the 2013-2014 off season!

All the details aren't out yet but I'm going to look at the deal just a straight swap.

Per Clay Davenport transactions,
Ian Kinsler is expected to produce 81.6 runs over the next 3 seasons and will be paid $46 million to do so.  Assuming $5.5 million for 10 runs in 2014 and 5% inflation each year the value of Kinsler's production is worth $47 million.  We'll call that a wash.  Kinsler will be paid exactly for his expected production.

Prince Fielder is expected to produce 214.3 runs (assuming 20 runs in his final year - a 5 run drop from the previous season) over the rest of his contract and will be paid $168 million to so do.  With the same assumptions, the value of Fielder's production is $134 million.  That's substantially less than the $214 million that he'll be paid.

Right off this looks like a huge win for the Tigers.

But, let's look at the deal a little differently.  Let's just look at the next 3 seasons.
Kinsler's expectancy doesn't change.  He'll produce 82 runs for $46 million.

Prince is expected to produce 111 runs while being paid $72 million.  The value of that production in $64 million.  

Prince is expected to produce 30 more runs than Kinsler over the next 3 seasons.  That's significant.  He'll also be paid $26 million more to do it - that's also significant.   With that $26 million the Tigers should be able to buy ($26 million / ($5.5/10)) 45 more runs on the open market.  Possibly in the form of a 3rd baseman to replace Cabrera who'll move to 1st or to Max Scherzer who could have been traded.

What hasn't been considered so far, and what is very difficult to fully consider, are the other dominoes.  Now, Jurickson Profar will move into the Rangers' starting line up.

Profar is projected to produce 97 runs over the next 3 seasons.  That certainly mitigates the loss of Kinsler.  He'll be doing so at near the league minimum as well.   The Rangers will now have Mitch Moreland available for trade or to move to the OF.  That also adds to the value from the Rangers' end.

The Rangers might be a better team over the next few seasons with Fielder instead of Kinsler.  Still, unless major prospects or major money is changing hands, it's hard to see this as anything but a win for the Tigers.

UPDATE:  The Tigers will send $30 million to the Rangers to cover part of Fielder's salary.  Incidentally, that's exactly the amount that the above analysis indicated that Fielder was expected to be paid in excess of his production.  

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