So by now unless you live in Alaska (ahem…) you're probably aware that yesterday the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers made a mega trade, with the Tigers sending Prince Fielder, $30,000,000 and the rest of his 7 years and $24,000,000 a year to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler.
What you probably don't know, is this.
Since the 2010 off season, leading into the 2011 season nine players (Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Zack Grienke, Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, Josh Hamilton, Cliff Lee, Jose Reyes) have received free agent contracts worth at least $100,000,000 in total value with a minimum of a five year commitment.
Three of those players have already switched teams. (and that's not including Adrian Gonzalez, who was extended after being traded to the Red Sox).
Think about that for a minute and let it sink in.
I'm not saying here that Ryan Howard is suddenly tradable today (though check out the photo caption for a little Howard/Fielder trivia). But it's not out of the scope of reality to believe that there's a team out there who would be interested in the big guy if he shows he's healthy, or Cliff Lee, or Jonathan Papelbon or whoever.
No. What I'm positing here is that there's no longer any reason for a team like the Phillies to SHY AWAY from a $100,000,000 plus deal for an impact type player for 6-7 years because they are worried about the length of the deal backfiring on them.
Players like Jacoby Ellsbury, or Shin-Soo Choo, will have value back in 2016 or 2017 or even 2015, provided they can still get on the field and produce.
Agents like Scott Boras are likely to use this information when negotiating this off season, and the Phillies would be wise to consider the new market inefficiency that is developing. They have the resources to essentially turn a 7 year $120,000,000 deal for a guy like Ellsbury into a 2 year $60,000,000 deal, and still take advantage of the player in the first two years.
The Fielder for Kinsler trade, while initially mind blowing, was actually a pretty easy thing to see if you look deeper into what's really happening in the marketplace. Teams are extremely wary of giving up top prospects any more, especially teams worried about payroll, and smaller market teams without the resources of a team like the Phillies.
And while the money that changed hands may seem like a lot, you have to consider the reality of the deal in relation to Kinsler's contract to really see what they saved.
Fielder makes $24,000,000 every year through 2020. Kinsler makes $16,000,000 through 2015, $14,000,000 in 2016, $11,000,000 in 2017 and has a $12,000,000 option with a $5,000,000 buyout in 2018.
So if you realize that the tigers were going to pay Fielder $24,000,000 a year anyway, the reality here is that if you spread that 30mm over the length of Kinsler's contract, and assume that they don't pick up his option, they save just $2mm in 14 and 15, $4mm in 16, 7mm in 17 and $13mm in 2018.
What they really did is dump the last two years of Fielder's deal on Texas to pay a little more than they should for Kinsler.
Once again, the Philies need to realize that to be a big market team, they need to act like one. Trades like this are about to become much more common in the market, as teams lock up their young stars, and major leaguers for major leaguers start turning hands.
Everything that was old may be new again.
The sooner the Phillies figure out how to take advantage of this, the better.