Prince Leaving Motown: The Deal No One Thought Could Be Done
By Dan Leach
Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is what thousands if not millions of Tigers fans were saying when the new first broke right after 8 p.m. that a blockbuster deal with the Tigers and Rangers was in the works. Then it started getting serious as it went from the ol’ “Reports are” to the much more delightful “It’s a done deal” and everyone, myself included, felt the buzz saw of what could end up being one of the greatest trades in recent Detroit history.
First the small part of bad news. This still is Prince Fielder who has career numbers that are tracking towards potential Hall of Fame proportions. In about 8 full seasons Fielder has 870 RBI , basically averaging at least 100 a year, and 285 bombs. That is where the bad news stops, at least for now, as even with those great numbers they were all in the regular season and Prince has been gone O-for when it counts…..the postseason.
Now is where the good news comes in bunches. Prince was owed an insane $168 million over the next 7 years. The Tigers are going to pay $30 million of that salary to the Rangers and the $62 million that Kinsler makes which saves the Tigers $76 million and likely a ton of heartache.
That is what opens up so many possibilities when it comes to bullpen help and signing a guy like closer Joe Nathan, or going out to get a left fielder like Nate McLouth or a closer like Joe Nathan. Or the biggest of them all being able to resign Max Scherzer, which I think is an absolute no brainier, especially now for Dombrowski and the Tigers. On the Teleconference right after the news broke last night, Dave Dombrowski talked about many things including how for all intents and purposes Omar Infante is gone and that Kinsler, a three-time All-Star at 2B, and Jose Iglesias will be the middle infield for the foreseeable future.
Player for player this isn’t that close of a deal as Prince’s power numbers dwarf Kinsler’s (8 seasons 539 RBI 155 HR), and the Tigers could have kept Omar Infante who has been an All-Star second basemen, but has postseason numbers as bad as Prince’s. What the deal does dwarf overall is the money the Tigers get off the books and save by taking on Kinsler’s salary and getting rid of Prince’s. Now there are a variety of things the Tigers can do with the extra money and tons of possibilities which is advantageous to build a team that can win a World Series
What the bottom line of this deal is though, is that no matter what happens to Fielder in Texas or elsewhere, even if he breaks the all-time home run record and drives in 200 runs a season for the next four years. If this trade gets the Tigers to a World Series championship in the next year or two, what Prince does is largely irrelevant in a business where the only goal should be to raise a championship banner.
Dave Dombrowski just took yet another major step towards doing that in the shock that Texas was willing to make this deal. DD still has a lot of work to do as he reshapes a Tigers team that was good enough to win it all last year, now without Fielder , as crazy as that might have sounded back at the start of last season, to be that much better and finally get the World Series title that this franchise, this starving fan base, this amazing owner so deserves.
Below is audio from the Teleconference Wednesday night, as well as reaction from Tigers play-by-play announcer Dan Dickerson on the trade.
Dombrowski on having more money to get players:
Dombrowski on why the deal made sense:
Dombrowski on how he notified Prince:
Dombrowski on the Tigers missing Prince:
Dickerson’s thoughts on the trade:
Dickerson on how Kinsler adds to the Tigers:
Dickerson on if Comerica Park was getting in Prince’s head: