The Detroit Tigers traded first baseman Prince Fielder and cash to the Texas Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler in an exchange of All-Star players.
“We have been trying to create some financial flexibility,” Detroit General Manager Dave Dombrowski said in a conference call with reporters late last night. “We’re in a situation where we have a lot of stars. They’re well-paid stars, and you can only have so many of those.”
The Tigers, who have reached the American League Championship Series the past two years, were fifth highest in Major League Baseball in 2013 with an opening-day payroll of $148.4 million, according to USA Today. Dombrowski did not say how much money was sent to Texas along with Fielder. Detroit will contribute $30 million of the $168 million due to Fielder over the next seven seasons, MLB.com reported.
Fielder, 29, a five-time All-Star who signed a nine-year contract as a free agent with the Tigers before the 2012 season, has hit 25 or more home runs in each of the last eight years.
Fielder has struggled in the postseason, though, hitting .196 with one home run and three runs batted in over 92 at-bats as the Tigers lost to the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 World Series and to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS this season.
Kinsler, 31, a three-time All-Star who has spent his entire career with the Rangers, hit .277 with 13 homers and 72 RBIs this season.
The trade would allow the Tigers to move oft-injured third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who is the two-time reigning American League Most Valuable Player, to first base.
“It gives us some flexibility at the first base spot,” Dombrowski said. “I’m not really sure what we’re going to do here today with Miguel. Eventually we see him as a first baseman, I’m not sure about this year.”