The Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers pulled off a trade no one saw coming until Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported the deal had been agreed upon by both sides.
Detroit would send Prince Fielder, along with $30 million in cash, to the Rangers in return for Ian Kinsler.
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Wait, you’re kidding right? It’s not possible that the Tigers would send one of their best players to Texas for a middle infielder, especially one who no one really thought had any sort of trade value. Is it?
The moment Prince Fielder waived his no-trade clause, which had the Rangers on it, the deal became official and the celebration in North Texas began, and so did the many opinions of anyone who wanted to give one.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, during the conference call Wednesday night, said the idea going into the offseason was to add two bats — and that’s “still the plan.”
With Prince Fielder now in the mix, one has to believe he will be the Rangers’ first baseman when the 2014 season gets underway. So, who are the Rangers still looking at for that second bat?
The Robinson Cano rumor has made the rounds, but if Gabe Kapler is right with his projected contract of seven years and $180 million, I don’t see Texas getting involved in that kind of deal. For the sake of argument, let’s take Cano off the board.
What about Brian McCann? He makes sense for Texas not only has a backup catcher to the supposed number-one guy, Geovany Soto, but also as a reserve first baseman and designated hitter. The only problem now is how much will it cost to sign him?
The original estimate when the offseason began was somewhere near five years and north of $100 million. After Carlos Ruiz, even at 35 years of age, received $26 million from the Philadelphia Phillies less than a week ago, it seemed even more likely that McCann was going to get a big contract.
However, that sentiment has apparently changed over the last few days. The chatter around North Texas airwaves is a five-year deal that could be worth around $80 million, which is something I could absolutely see the Rangers being comfortable with.
But there’s still one more name that needs to be talked about, a name that would fill in the hole in left field. With David Murphy signing a two-year deal with the Cleveland Indians on Monday night, and the unlikely idea of giving Craig Gentry the starting job, the Rangers still need a guy who can be the everyday starter at that spot.
The name to keep an eye on is Shin-Soo Choo, a guy I’ve talked about on numerous occasions and a guy who has an on base percentage that would be very attractive to a team that could use it. However, if you believe those who think the Rangers covet their draft picks and would never give one up to sign a free agent, then neither Choo nor McCann will be members of the Texas Rangers.
I see it differently. The only thing a draft pick guarantees any team is the right to select a player out of high school or college – that’s it.
The rest is based on nothing but hopes, dreams, projections and assumptions. It doesn’t guarantee a championship, it doesn’t guarantee a winning season, and it doesn’t even guarantee a playoff run. So, explain to me, again, why you’d rather have an assumption over someone like McCann or Choo who make you immediately better than you were in 2013?
If I had to give my prediction on which player, between McCann and Choo, will be wearing a Rangers uniform in 2014, give me Choo.
Say what you want about his lack of hitting against left-handers last season (.215), I could say the same thing about Leonys Martin (.225), but fans love this young player and his ability. They’ll feel the same about Choo and his .423 on base percentage and .885 on base plus slugging percentage, not to mention his 5.2 WAR, the highest since his 5.9 with the Cleveland Indians in 2010.
With the trade the Rangers just made Wednesday night, they have made a statement loud and clear: They want to get better in 2014.