A look back at some of the offseason’s big trades
The plan seemed sensible enough at the time.
The Texas Rangers traded Ian Kinsler to Detroit for Prince Fielder in November, acquiring Fielder’s powerful bat and clearing the way for Jurickson Profar to take over for Kinsler at second base.
Now Fielder is probably out for the season because of a neck injury and Profar hasn’t played a game in 2014 because of a shoulder tear. Texas is 25-25.
To their credit, the Rangers took three of four at Detroit without Fielder, but with Kinsler hitting .330 for the Tigers, it’s pretty clear which team has benefited from that deal in the early going.
“They got a quality player that’s producing. We got a quality player that’s hurting right now,” said Texas manager Ron Washington, who remains confident in Fielder’s ability but wasn’t about to sugar coat the early returns on the trade.
Fielder-for-Kinsler was the offseason’s most significant swap, but there were a few other big trades worth looking back on:
1. Detroit trades Doug Fister to Washington.
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski took some heat for this one, but Robbie Ray, the 22-year-old left-hander who came over in the deal, has been impressive in the minor leagues and even made three starts for the Tigers in the majors recently. So it seems Detroit was onto something.
Fister missed the start of the season with a back injury, but he appears to be rounding into form now for the Nationals.
2. Colorado trades Dexter Fowler to Houston.
Fowler has put up a solid .366 on-base percentage for Houston, but the Rockies have fared just fine without him. They acquired 23-year-old right-hander Jordan Lyles in the deal, and he’s 5-1 with a 3.45 ERA.
3. The Cardinals trade David Freese to the Angels.
Freese, a former World Series MVP, is hitting only .217 for the Angels, while Peter Bourjos — the outfielder who went to St. Louis in this trade — is at .227. Bourjos brings speed and impressive defense to the Cardinals, even if his impact with the bat has been minimal.
Here are five things to watch around the majors this week:
TORONTO’S TEAR: The AL East looked like a mass of mediocrity for a while, but the Blue Jays have now emerged atop the division, winners of six straight. Toronto’s Mark Buehrle tries for his ninth win of the year Tuesday night against Tampa Bay.
BOTTOMING OUT: At the other end of the spectrum, the Boston Red Sox have lost 10 in a row, and the defending champions find themselves with the fourth-worst record in baseball. The Red Sox begin a stretch of four straight interleague games against Atlanta on Monday.
MARQUEE MATCHUP? The Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics have the two best records in the American League, and they’ll play a four-game set in California starting Monday. But neither team has looked its best lately — the Tigers have dropped six of seven and Oakland has lost four straight. Sonny Gray of the A’s puts his 1.99 ERA on the line Tuesday night against reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer.
RELENTLESS: Troy Tulowitzki of Colorado could be headed for one of the greatest offensive seasons by a shortstop — the type of year previously reserved for players like Alex Rodriguez and Cal Ripken. Even after going hitless Sunday, Tulowitzki is hitting .375 with 14 homers.
He’s hitting .521 at home, but the Rockies will be on the road this week against Philadelphia and Cleveland.
UNLIKELY STANDOUT: Yes, that’s Houston’s Dallas Keuchel who just threw his second complete game in three starts Sunday — after having just one in the first 45 starts of his career. The 26-year-old left-hander is 6-2 with a 2.55 ERA in 2014.
STAT OF THE WEEK
It’s been at least a century since any pitcher went through what Jeff Samardzija has endured to begin this season. Pitching for the last-place Chicago Cubs, Samardzija is 0-4 despite leading the National League with a 1.46 ERA.
No pitcher since at least 1914 has gone winless in his first 10 starts with that low an ERA in those starts, according to STATS. In fact, nobody has come all that close. The next-best ERA on that list belongs to Rube Schauer of the Philadelphia A’s, who was 0-9 with a 2.33 ERA in his first 10 starts in 1917. (And he at least had a couple wins in relief in that span.)
Samardzija starts Monday at San Francisco.