Early in the off-season, the Texas Rangers swapped superstars in a rare trade when they acquired slugging first baseman Prince Fielder, and his massive contract, for longtime second baseman Ian Kinsler.
Even after that, there was still some talk that the Rangers could go after Cuban defector Jose Abreu to possibly split time with Fielder as a first baseman and designated hitter. Looking back on the decision to not seriously pursue him now looks pretty bad in hindsight.
Abreu was signed by the Chicago White Sox for $68 million over six years, which was then seen as a bit of a reach for a guy that had never played an MLB game, but had mashed Cuban pitching. Now, that looks like a bargain for the 27-year-old hulk of a man.
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Abreu is a lock for AL Rookie of the Year honors and will probably finish fairly high up in the MVP balloting even though he's on a bad team. He leads all of baseball in home runs (31) and RBIs (86), and he's not just a masher as evidenced by his recent 21-game hitting streak and his .307 batting average. He also leads the league in slugging percentage and OPS.
It's not totally fair, but who cares? Let's compare him with Fielder, who will be a free agent the year after Abreu in 2021. Fielder is three years older and played in just 42 games this year before needing season-ending neck surgery that could possibly threaten his career, you just don't know at this point.
While Abreu's deal works out to just more than $10 million a year, Fielder is owed $24 million a year over the next six years, with the Tigers picking up $6 million a year beginning in 2016 through the end of the contract in 2020.
So again, it's a huge bit of hindsight, but who would you have rather had the Rangers go after this winter?