Prince Fielder Rumors

Fallout From Prince Fielder-Ian Kinsler Trade

The Tigers and Rangers gave us the first blockbuster trade of the offseason tonight when they agreed to swap Prince Fielder + $30MM for Ian Kinsler.  Here's a look at the latest reactions and fallout from the mega-deal..

  • The Rangers might not be done yet.  A source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) that the Rangers still want to add another bat.  GM Jon Daniels & Co. could continue their pursuits of free agents such as Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Nelson Cruz, and others.
  • Nolan Ryan being out of the picture in Arlington probably removed a big roadblock in agent Scott Boras finally getting Fielder to Texas, opines Tim Dierkes of MLBTR (via Twitter).  The Rangers had serious interest in the slugger when he was a free agent two years ago, but some members of the front office weren't as high on him.
  • The $30MM sent from Detroit to Texas effectively takes Fielder's contract down to $138MM over seven years for the Rangers, but Dave Cameron of Fangraphs (via Twitter) argues that the same money and years could have netted them Jacoby Ellsbury or McCann and another piece.  Overall, Cameron sees the deal as a win for the Tigers.
  • Fielder is a steal at $138MM over seven years as he might be demanding as much as Robinson Cano if he were on the open market right now, opines Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).
  • The Tigers were motivated to make the deal in part because of concerns that MIguel Cabrera couldn't play third base anymore due to injuries and a lack of mobility, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
  • Passan (Twitter links) suggests that one way to look at the deal is that the Rangers would have been paying Kinsler $62MM over the next four years and with the cash considerations they're getting, they'll only be giving Fielder $4MM more over that span.  Of course, they'll also be paying the slugger $24MM in his age 34, 35, and 36 seasons beyond that period.
  • The Tigers were worried about how Fielder would age and about freeing up cash, but Cabrera did win two MVPs with Fielder hitting behind him, notes Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
  • Even though the Tigers are likely out on Omar Infante, there are still plenty of options out there for him, Tim tweets.
  • Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter) wonders if the Rangers can still make a play for David Price.
  • Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com looks at what Fielder's arrival in Texas will mean, including a bump up for Jurickson Profar.

Fielder For Kinsler Blockbuster Is Being Discussed

The Rangers and Tigers are discussing a blockbuster deal that would send Prince Fielder to Texas for Ian Kinsler, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has learned.  One person involved in the talks called it a “possibility.”

The dollar amount of Fielder’s contract isn’t the only potential hurdle in getting such a deal done.  Fielder holds a limited no-trade clause, but it isn’t known if it includes the Rangers.

The Rangers were in the mix for Fielder when he was on the open market a couple years ago before the Tigers signed him to a nine-year, $214MM deal.  Fielder took a step back in 2013, posting a .279/.362/.457 slash line as opposed to the .287/.393/.538 batting line he posted in his previous eight campaigns.  For all of the concern over his conditioning, Fielder sure has been durable - the slugger has missed just one regular season game in the last five seasons. 

Aside from giving Texas a five-time All-Star with a big bat, the deal would have the added benefit of opening up second base for Jurickson Profar.  Kinsler’s name has been on MLBTR quite a bit in recent months thanks to the Rangers’ middle infield logjam and lack of quality second base options available on the open market outside of kingpin Robinson Cano.  The veteran has spent his entire career with Texas, hitting .273/.349/.454 across eight big league seasons.  While not on the level of Fielder’s deal, the 31-year-old has a pretty decent-sized contract himself as he is owed $57MM through 2017.


Checking In On The Latest $100MM Contracts

Every year a few players join baseball’s exclusive $100MM club with free agent deals and mega-extensions. Last offseason was no different — eight players signed nine figure deals. The contracts were all for five years or more, so it’s far too early to call them successes or failures. As the season approaches its halfway point, let’s check in on baseball’s newest $100MM contracts:

  • Albert Pujols, ten-year, $240MM contract - Pujols had a painfully slow start, but he has raised his batting line to a respectable .270/.332/.461. His last 40 games have been legitimately Pujols-like: 11 home runs and an OPS over 1.000.
  • Joey Votto, ten-year, $225MM extension - It's impossible to have a complete discussion about baseball's best hitters without considering Votto. The 28-year-old leads the National League in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, walks, doubles and wOBA, so this deal couldn't be going any better for the Reds.
  • Prince Fielder, nine-year, $214MM contract - Fielder continues to hit at an All-Star level, though he has a relatively modest total of 12 home runs. Unfortunately for Tigers fans Mike Ilitch's bold investment hasn't been enough to keep the team above .500.
  • Matt Kemp, eight-year, $160MM extension - Hamstring issues have sidelined Kemp, who was the best hitter in the National League for the first month of the season.
  • C.C. Sabathia, five-year, $122MM extension - Sabathia, now on the disabled list with a strained groin, is in the midst of yet another tremendous season. He has a 3.45 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 107 innings.
  • Matt Cain, five-year, $112.5MM extension - Cain's enjoying his best season as a Major Leaguer. He has a career-best ERA (2.27), strikeout rate (9.0 K/9) and walk rate (1.9 BB/9) through 107 innings. The Giants' decision to invest in Cain still looks like a good one.
  • Jose Reyes, six-year, $106MM extension - Reyes' offensive numbers have dropped off across the board this year, no thanks to a 60 point dip in batting average on balls in play.
  • Ryan Zimmerman, six-year, $100MM extension - Zimmerman's off to a slow start at the plate despite two home runs in his past three games. He missed two weeks with shoulder soreness earlier in the year and has just a .235/.297/.350 batting line.


Stark On Dodgers, Fielder, Rays, Braves

It’s tempting to assume the Dodgers will spend aggressively on free agents once new ownership is in place, but Jayson Stark of ESPN.com says it’s not that simple. Here are Stark’s latest rumors, starting in Los Angeles…

  • Former Braves and Nationals president Stan Kasten, a key member of the Dodgers’ new leadership group, spent conservatively on outside free agents while in Atlanta, and the Nationals didn’t start spending aggressively until Kasten had moved on. Agents say spending lavishly on free agents is not Kasten’s style.
  • Longtime Braves GM John Schuerholz "wouldn't be surprised" if the Dodgers spend big here and there, but he doesn’t expect splashy signings to become habitual.
  • For the first time ever, no MLB team has a payroll below $50MM.
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Stark that National League teams have trouble competing for free agent sluggers who may have to become designated hitters late in their careers. Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols joined American League teams on long-term deals this past offseason. “When the length of those deals got to nine and 10 years, we just couldn't compete," Melvin said.
  • The Rays aren’t looking for a short-term solution behind the plate, but they’d like to add an everyday catcher who can contribute for years, according to Stark.
  • Schuerholz, who’s now the Braves president, says the team hopes to retain Brian McCann long-term, even though there are “no guarantees” that’s possible.

Los Angeles Links: Kershaw, Fielder, Cantu, Phillies

At least one of the five groups bidding to buy the Dodgers has asked about the possibility of selling the naming rights to Dodger Stadium, reports Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times.  Naming rights are commonplace in sports, but as Shaikin notes in his piece, it would be a poor PR move for a new owner to immediately change the name of one of baseball's most historic parks.

Here are a few more items from both the Dodgers and the Angels…

  • Clayton Kershaw was "less than thrilled" about making just $500K last season, which may be part of the reason the Dodgers signed their ace to a two-year, $19MM deal, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  The Dodgers wanted to sign Kershaw to a four-year extension that would have covered the southpaw's first free agent season.
  • Heyman also calls Matt Kemp's eight-year contract extension with the team "possibly the best financial move anyone made this winter."
  • The Dodgers made an offer to Prince Fielder at the Winter Meetings for a four-year contract worth an average annual value of less than that of Alex Rodriguez, Ned Colletti tells Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link).  Rodriguez earns an AAV of $27.5MM on his current Yankees contract but one would think that L.A.'s offer couldn't have been much lower than that, given that they were just offering four years.
  • Also from Bowden (via Twitter), Fielder's agent Scott Boras said Colletti's recruiting meeting with Fielder was the best he's seen in 30 years.
  • Jorge Cantu hopes to be traded to a team with corner infield needs if he can't make the Angels' roster, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.  Cantu has the option of opting out of his contract with L.A. if he's in the minors on May 1.  He has also considered taking "a couple of months off this summer" as his girlfriend is due to give birth to their first child in June. 
  • If the Angels were to offer one of their backup infielders (Alberto Callaspo or Maicer Izturis) to the Phillies, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez speculates that the Halos could look for Kyle Kendrick or Joe Blanton back in such a trade.  In Blanton's case, the Phils would have to cover a big chunk of his $8.5MM salary for this season.
  • Earlier today we covered the hot-stove highlights of Arte Moreno's recent interview with GQ.

NL East Notes: Fielder, Mulvey, Marlins, Elarton

Here's the latest from the NL East…

  • Prince Fielder said he wouldn't have minded playing for the Nationals, telling media (including Amanda Comak of the Washington Times) that he enjoyed his meeting with Nats management in December and was interested in playing with the club's young stars, particularly Bryce Harper.  Fielder said he wasn't sure if Washington ever presented him with a formal contract offer.
  • The Mets have signed right-hander Kevin Mulvey to a minor league contract, according to the club's minor league Twitter feed.  Mulvey was originally drafted by the Mets in the second round of the 2006 draft.  He was part of the trade package New York sent to Minnesota in the Johan Santana deal and, in 2009, was sent by the Twins to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Jon Rauch.  The D'Backs released Mulvey last week.  Mulvey last pitched in the big leagues in 2010 and has a 7.90 ERA in 27 1/3 career Major League innings.
  • The early impression of the Marlins' new stadium is that it favors hitters when the retractable roof is open and favors pitchers when the roof is closed, reports Robbie Levin of the Miami Herald.
  • Scott Elarton's trip with his son to a Phillies/Rockies game last summer was the first step in Elarton eventually signing a minor league deal with the Phillies, reports Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  The 10-year veteran last pitched in the Majors in 2008 and his last taste of pro ball was 16 games with the White Sox Triple-A affiliate in 2010.

Quick Hits: Fielder, Mets, Harper

It's only Spring Training, but Jerry Dipoto's new additions looked good in the Angels’ exhibition contest today, as Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times explains. Albert Pujols collected two hits, C.J. Wilson and Brad Mills each pitched two scoreless innings and Chris Iannetta homered. Here are today's links… 

  • Prince Fielder told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that joining the Tigers was 'a dream come true' that he didn't even dream about. GM Dave Dombrowski says owner Mike Ilitch's aggressiveness made the $214MM Fielder deal possible. "He is in a situation where he wants to win,'' Dombrowski said. 
  • Mets owner Fred Wilpon will have to pay as much as $83.3MM, a court ruled today, according to ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin. Irving Picard seeks to recover that sum for losers in Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. All but $1.7MM of that amount is associated with Wilpon's other businesses and charities, so in theory the Mets won't be affected substantially. 
  • Agent Scott Boras suggested the Mets would be better off if their current owners are replaced, Vincent M. Mallozzi of the New York Times writes. "There has to be an equation where there are requirements for ownership to perform at certain levels, and if they don’t, they would lose their right to own a club and be replaced," Boras said.
  • Bryce Harper still has his doubters, but he's clear about his goals for the 2012 season, as Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes. The outfield prospect wants to push his way onto the Nationals’ roster by performing well this Spring Training. Once he gets there, he's "poised to take the mantel from [Alex Rodriguez] as the ballplayer simultaneously most respected and loathed," Passan writes.

NL West Notes: Diamondbacks, Padres, Fielder

We’ve checked in on the NL East and the NL Central this evening. Let’s complete the tour of the National League with this set of links…

  • GM Kevin Towers says he’s on the lookout for catching depth, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter). The Diamondbacks and Miguel Montero tabled extension talks for now and Arizona doesn’t have a frontline catcher in its system.
  • Padres pitching prospects Robbie Erlin, Joe Wieland and Andrew Cashner have impressed assistant GM A.J. Hinch early on in Spring Training, Corey Brock of MLB.com reports. 
  • It sounds like the Dodgers were the runner up in the Prince Fielder bidding, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. The Orioles appear to have come in third behind Los Angeles and Detroit. Heyman reported in January that the Dodgers offered Fielder a seven-year deal worth over $160MM.

AL West Notes: Young, Mariners, A’s, Cantu

The Rangersdeal with Dominican teenager Jairo Beras created a stir today, since MLB and many of its clubs thought the prospect was 16 and therefore ineligible to sign. Here are more notes from the AL West…

  • Michael Young told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan that he embraces his role as a utility player and wants to remain with the Rangers long-term. Young wanted out of Texas a year ago this time, but he had a big season at the plate in 2011 and appears to have settled into his new role. You’ll find him on MLBTR’s newly-released list of 2014 free agents.
  • Ken Griffey Jr. said he told GM Jack Zduriencik that he’d put in a good word for the Mariners if Prince Fielder asked him about Seattle this offseason, according to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times. In the end Fielder didn’t ask and Griffey left him alone. “Prince is his own man,” Griffey said. “You can't jeopardize relationships. If he had asked me about it, I would have talked about it.”
  • The Athletics want to take a real look at Josh Donaldson at third base and are unlikely to explore the free agent market for third basemen any time soon, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. Miguel Tejada has said he’d like the chance to return to Oakland, but a reunion seems unlikely.
  • Jorge Cantu’s contract with the Angels includes a May 1st opt-out date, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com tweets.

Cafardo On Lannan, Bourjos, Cespedes, Vazquez

Jason Varitek is facing a very difficult decision, and the catcher has been considering the very difficult reality of retirement, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  Varitek, who turns 40 in April, would seem to be a good fit in Minnesota.  The Twins will likely carry three catchers as Joe Mauer will need time to DH and rest and Ryan Doumit will mostly DH while also backing up Mauer.

Varitek isn't the only veteran wondering about his baseball future.  Ivan Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, Magglio Ordonez, and Vladimir Guerrero also hope to continue playing in 2012.  Here's more from Cafardo..

  • There is a lot of speculation that the Nationals will deal John Lannan to the Angels for Peter Bourjos, with the Halos putting Mike Trout in center field.  The Nats beat Lannan in arbitration last week and were said to be aggressively shopping the left-hander.  
  • Alternatively, the Nats could move Jayson Werth to center and sign a right fielder.  Cafardo adds that it now appears that Yoenis Cespedes is not in their plans and they have cooled on B.J. Upton.
  • Javier Vazquez is retired for now, but Cafardo wonders if a team could convince him to play.  An AL GM remarked that Vazquez would be a perfect fourth or fifth starter on a contending team and believes that the pitcher looks as good as he's ever been.
  • Scott Boras is no longer representing Manny Ramirez.  Ramirez signed on with Boras in early 2008 and the agent negotiated the slugger's two-year, $45MM contract with the Dodgers the following year.
  • Boras wound up receiving eight offers in total for Prince Fielder, including the winning bid from the Tigers.
  • A couple of agents are frustrated after dealing with the Red Sox front office/ownership lately as compared to what they were used to in the past.  However, there has been quite a bit of praise for GM Ben Cherington.
  • Right-hander Brandon Webb hasn't given up on pitching and according to one American League executive, the plan is for the 32-year-old to throw for teams sometime in March.
  • Mark Prior is also looking to attempt one more comeback.  The right-hander, who spent some of last season with the Yankees, had surgery for a sports hernia and the problem isn't completely corrected.  Like Webb, Prior could work out for teams as early as March.
  • Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger was supposed to be in Red Sox minor league camp but instead ripped up his elbow long-tossing over the winter.  The veteran will unfortunately miss the season.
  • Cafardo feels that the Red Sox missed an opportunity to sign Edwin Jackson to a good value deal at one year, $10MM and shouldn’t let Roy Oswalt slip away now.