The Tigers didn't just get a second baseman and likely leadoff hitter by trading Prince Fielder to Texas for Ian Kinsler. They got a financial do-over.
As the shock value of Wednesday night's deal wore off, and the new reality of a Tigers team set in, the discussion began in earnest on what to do with newfound payroll space to fill the holes that the trade created.
"I'm really not sure what we're going to do where we sit here today," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said on a Wednesday night conference call.
In some ways, the Fielder trade has a chance to serve the Tigers like trading Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford served the Red Sox. As much as the Tigers and Miguel Cabrera benefited from Fielder's presence in the lineup, his long-term contract limited what they could do on the field as well as with the payroll. The limitations weren't just about what they could do to change the club, but what they could do to keep the core of the club together.
The Tigers aren't nearly starting over like the Red Sox did. But by trading Fielder's mega-contract, even with $30 million going to Texas beginning in 2016, their offseason script has completely changed. Their first priority with their new payroll space will be gauging their chances at contract extensions for Cabrera (eligible for free agency after 2015) and Max Scherzer (a free agent next winter), followed by finding a closer. Their next priority is expected to be short-term upgrades to stretch out their offense.
Read more: Tigers flip script with new payroll flexibility | MLB.com: News