In the wake of the stunning Prince Fielder-Ian Kinsler swap, I have one question — why can’t Sandy Alderson act similarly boldly and decisively?
The Tigers apparently decided they wanted to move Fielder’s contract. The Rangers decided they needed another big bat. So the deal was made. It was simple as that.
Alderson, on the other hand, is busy “feeling out” the market, hoping and praying that prices for free agents and trade targets drop as the winter wears on.
That is probably a prudent approach; after all, why pay November/December prices when you might be able to get an after-Christmas discount?
But there is absolutely nothing wrong with targeting a player you want and going hard after him. Instead, Alderson seems content to sit on the sidelines and monitor things, waiting for players to drop into his lap.
It’s just not going to happen.
What will likely happen is that we will see free agent after free agent sign with other teams, while Alderson will wait at the bottom of the scrap heap to scoop up whoever is left, just like he has done for the previous three off-seasons. How has that worked out?
Granted, both the Tigers and the Rangers are in win-now mode while the Mets are not. But to get to that position, Sandy Alderson cannot afford to take the passive approach yet again. But you know he will.
Going back to the trade for a moment, the more I think about it, the worse it looks for the Tigers. Fielder is owed $168 million over the next seven years while Kinsler is due $62 million for the next four (including a buyout of a fifth season). So the Tigers are saving more than $100 million, right? No, because they are also sending $30 million to Texas.
This means in essence the Tigers will pay Kinsler $92 million for the next four seasons, an average of $23 million per season. If they kept Fielder, they would have paid him $24 million per season, albeit for seven years. Kinsler is a good second baseman, but he is not even remotely on par with Fielder to be essentially making the same money.
The Tigers must have concluded that Fielder would not be worth the expense over those last three seasons. Perhaps they are right, but over the next four years, I would much rather have Fielder than Kinsler.
You also have to wonder if the Mets could have gotten into this at all. Kinsler is better than Daniel Murphy, but not $92 million better. The Tigers might have had to send more cash to the Mets, but because Murphy does not have an onerous contract, Detroit would have saved more money and they still would have gotten a competent second baseman.
But of course, Sandy Alderson never would have done it, so why even bother bringing it up?