Last night, the Rangers and Tigers made the first blockbuster trade of the off-season. Texas sent second baseman Ian Kinsler to Detroit for first baseman Prince Fielder and $30 million. Seconds after the deal was first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, reactions began to flow in on twitter and around the baseball blogging world. Those reactions have been varied, but there is no shortages of fans and writers on both sides who like this deal for their teams.
Lone Star Ball's poll of fans grades the deal very well. At this writing, 85 percent of those polled have given the trade a B or better and 21 percent rate it an A.
On the other side of the swap, Bless You Boys has a simpler polling system. Asked if they thought this was good deal for the Tigers, their readers had responded "yes" 74 percent of the time at this writing.
The positive reactions to the deal shouldn't come as much of a surprise. The deal addresses clear needs for both teams. Grant Brisbee of Baseball Nation looks at ten different ways that this deal makes sense, even if we could never have seen it coming.
For the stat-centric crowd, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs breaks down the deal from the Tiger perspective and from the Rangers side, concluding that the trade is a huge win for Detroit in the long-term. He sees Texas managing to dodge a bidding war for a first baseman at the expense of a player they were destined to move anyway, which is probably a good thing, but he fears a sharp decline from Fielder will make this a long-term loser there.
The financial side of the deal definitely skews towards the Tigers, as Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk describes in his write up of the deal. By his calculations, Detroit frees up around $76 million to help them extend Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer with this trade, while addressing the need at second base.
For the Rangers, the deal has a great deal of risk, but Keith Law of ESPN ($$) doesn't see a lot of ways the Rangers could have done better in spending their cash this off-season.
The worries over Fielder's potential to age badly, don't bother Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus ($$) much, however. Miller doesn't just like this trade for the Tigers and the Rangers, he likes it for all of baseball.
"This trade makes more good baseball. This trade is practically not even about Fielder or Kinsler, so much as the players who will be freed to be their best selves. Miguel Cabrera playing third was bad baseball. [snip] Jurickson Profar, the best prospect in baseball last year, being permablocked was bad baseball. Pretty sure if the Rangers had made this move a year ago Profar would have been some sort of Mike Trout/Matt Harvey hybrid, because no prospects flop anymore. Nick Castellanos at third base, instead of left field-well, that could go either way ...[snip]...The same way that a good housing market makes people suddenly richer, this trade makes baseball suddenly better. It's a fun trade. What a fun trade"
It isn't often that we get the kind of trade that brings the lost days of yore when kids would swap two baseball cards of top players with steely eyes and sweaty palms to life in the context of the actual game, but that is what we are looking at right now. Time will tell us the true winner of this deal, but today, just as Miller states, the winner is baseball fans everywhere.