DETROIT (AP) — Prince Fielder was traded to the Texas Rangers in a blockbuster deal Wednesday night that sent second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers.
Detroit gave the Rangers $30 million as part of the trade, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the amount of money exchanged was not revealed when the teams announced the move.
Fielder had to consent to the trade before it could be completed. The big first baseman signed a $214 million, nine-year contract with the Tigers before the 2012 season that includes a limited no-trade provision.
Kinsler just finished the first season of a $75 million, five-year contract.
It’s the first headline-grabbing move of baseball’s offseason, and it involves two of the American League’s top teams. Detroit has won three consecutive AL Central titles and reached the World Series in 2012, while Texas won the AL pennant in 2010 and 2011.
But neither team was about to stand pat. With stars like Fielder, Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Anibal Sanchez in the fold, Detroit’s payroll had become one of the game’s biggest. And although Fielder hit 55 home runs over the last two years for the Tigers, his numbers dipped this season and he struggled in the playoffs when Detroit lost to Boston in the AL championship series.
Fielder hit .279 with 25 homers this year, his lowest home run total over a full season.
He did not have a single RBI in the 2013 postseason and hit .182 in the ALCS.
Kinsler batted .277 with 13 homers this year. He was limited to 136 games because of injuries to his ribs and right side.
The trade could give Detroit more financial flexibility, with Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer a year from free agency.
Kinsler fills a need at second base for Detroit after Omar Infante became a free agent.