MLB Roundup: AP source: Tigers, Texas to swap Fielder, Kinsler
DETROIT (AP) — The Tigers and Rangers agreed to a blockbuster trade Wednesday night that would send Detroit slugger Prince Fielder to Texas for second baseman Ian Kinsler, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made.
Fielder signed a $214 million, nine-year contract with the Tigers before the 2012 season that includes a limited no-trade provision, and the big first baseman was set to approve the deal.
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. Kinsler batted .277 with 13 homers. 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.
Fielder, however, is still only 29, and the Rangers are set to add a big bat to the middle of their lineup while also resolving a logjam in the middle of their infield. Jurickson Profar, a highly touted 20-year-old prospect, appeared to be blocked by Kinsler and shortstop Elvis Andrus. Now, Profar should have a chance to play regularly.
Kinsler fills a need at second base for Detroit after Omar Infante became a free agent.
Fielder is due $168 million through 2020, a salary of $24 million per season. Under his no-trade clause, he submits a list of 10 teams each year that he can be traded to without his approval.
Texas was not on that list this year, but Fielder agreed to accept the trade and instructed agent Scott Boras to approve the deal.
Kinsler is guaranteed $62 million through 2017: $16 million in each of the next two seasons, $14 million in 2016, $11 million in 2017 and a $5 million buyout of a $10 million option.
A-Rod bolts grievance hearing; lawsuit looms
NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez benched himself at his own grievance hearing.
The New York Yankees star walked out in the middle of a session Wednesday, furious arbitrator Fredric Horowitz refused to order baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to testify. The move, followed by angry statements accusing Selig of bias and the entire arbitration process of flaws, appeared to be a prelude to a lawsuit challenging whatever ruling Horowitz makes on A-Rod’s 211-game suspension.
Horowitz was in the midst of the third week of hearings on the grievance filed by the players’ association to overturn the penalty given to the three-time AL MVP by Major League Baseball in August for alleged violations of the sport’s drug agreement and labor contract.
“I lost my mind. I banged a table and kicked a briefcase and slammed out of the room,” Rodriguez said during a 40-minute interview on WFAN radio. “I probably overreacted, but it came from the heart.”
Rodriguez has not testified in the grievance and said he had been warned that repeating his denials of wrongdoing on the stand could result in attempts at additional discipline by MLB.
MLB argued that it could decide what witnesses it wanted to present to justify the discipline, since the penalty must meet a “just cause” standard. The league said Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred spoke to reasoning behind the discipline during his six hours of testimony.
Twins to bring shortstop Bartlett to spring training
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins have agreed to terms with former starting shortstop Jason Bartlett on a minor league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.
The Twins announced the deal on Wednesday among several other minor moves. Bartlett is one of 11 non-roster players who’ll be in camp. The 34-year-old did not appear in the majors last season, but he was a regular for six years, with Minnesota, Tampa Bay and San Diego. Bartlett was a contributor to playoff teams with the Twins in 2006 and Rays in 2008 and 2010.
The Twins also did some shuffling with their 40-man roster, adding left-hander Logan Darnell, outfielder Max Kepler and infielders Jorge Polanco and Kenny Vargas prior to the winter major league draft.