In a stunning trade of big-money All-Star players from perennial playoff clubs, the Detroit Tigers have dealt first baseman Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers in exchange for second baseman Ian Kinsler, a move that gives both teams a significant facelift and also flexibility.
A baseball official with first-hand knowledge of the deal confirmed it to USA TODAY Sports' Bob Nightengale. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade still had to be approved by Major League Baseball.
The Tigers will also send $30 million to the Rangers, a high-ranking club official with knowledge of the deal confirmed.
CBS Sports first reported that the trade had been agreed upon, but it is pending the waiving of no-trade clauses and physical examinations.
Fielder, 29, completed just two of the nine seasons of his $214 million deal he signed with the Tigers before the 2012 season. He gave them two productive seasons - hitting 30 and 25 home runs, while producing an .878 on-base plus slugging - but he wilted in the playoffs. Fielder produced just two extra-base hits in five playoff series as the Tigers won the 2012 pennant and came within two wins of a second consecutive World Series appearance in 2013.
The Tigers now will supplement $4.29 million of his salary annually for the final seven years.
His trade enables Detroit to move Miguel Cabrera - who won two AL MVPs in Fielder's tenure - back to first base, while freeing up money to retain reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, a free agent after 2014.
Looking ahead another year, it also clears money to re-sign Cabrera, whose eight-year, $152.3 million deal expires after 2015.
Kinsler, 31, is entering the second season of a five-year, $75 million deal that runs through 2017. He'll fill a gaping hole for the Tigers at second base.
Kinsler's departure also saves Texas, at second base anyway. Top prospect Jurickson Profar will take over for Kinsler, giving the Rangers a low-salaried replacement up the middle.
And the move ensures the Tigers will remain among the most active players this offseason. They now must find a third baseman - uber prospect Nick Castellanos may not be quite ready - and losing Fielder's $24 million salary in 2014 gives them more flexibility to pursue a high-end closer.