Prince Fielder Signs 9 Year, $214 Million Deal With Detroit Tigers
On Tuesday afternoon, former Milwaukee Brewers slugging first basemen Prince Fielder inked a nine year, $214 million deal with the Detroit Tigers. No one had thought that Fielder would wait until late January to sign a deal, but it seems as if it was the right decision. When Tigers DH/C/1B Victor Martinez went down with a torn acl in winter ball and was ruled out for the 2012 MLB season, it opened a glaring hole at DH for the Tigers, which they seized the opportunity to land the biggest free agent player remaining to a mega deal. Now they have two of the best first basemen in baseball in Fielder and Miguel Cabrera. Miguel Cabrera was approached before this deal and was asked by Tigers brass if he would move back to third base if they signed Fielder. Miguel Cabrera agreed to move back to third base, which gave the front office the green light to ink Fielder. Cabrera had played third base for the first five years of his career with the Marlins before being traded to the Tigers on December 5th, 2007, and being moved to first base full time. It was a smart move as Miguel was just horrible defensively at third base and improved a bit at first base. Now after four years at first base, Cabrera will move back to third base to accommodate Prince Fielder and form one of the best three-four’s in any lineup in baseball.
Since Victor Martinez is already out for the 2012 season and was the full time DH, with Miguel Cabrera as the first baseman and Alex Avila to have come out of nowhere to be a very solid catcher, Prince Fielder, in my opinion will split time at DH and 1B with Cabrera during the 2012 season. When 2013 gets here, Martinez will go back to the DH role, and Fielder will play 1B full time and Cabrera will move back over to 3B full time. The Tigers have established themselves as the perennial favorites in the AL Central division. In 2011 they won the AL Central by 15 games over the Cleveland Indians. Now with the addition of Prince Fielder in the lineup that already consists of Miguel Cabrera, Alex Avila, Johnny Peralta, Delmon Young, Austin Jackson, and Brennan Boesch, you’d have to believe that the Tigers have one of the best lineups in baseball and have pushed themselves way ahead of their AL Central foes in terms of star power, depth, and willingness to spend to make the team better. The Tigers pitching is solid too, as they have AL MVP and CY Young winner Justin Verlander leading the rotation, followed by Doug Fister, who was acquired from the Seattle Mariners at the 2011 trade deadline and become one of the best second half pitchers this past season. They also have young Max Scherzer who can rack up strikeouts, and another young stud, Rick Porcello as their number four pitcher, so the rotation is just as good as their lineup. The bullpen is solid and can contend with the other AL bullpens.
The addition of Fielder gives the Tigers one of the best power hitting teams, and one of the best hearts of the lineup. Since Fielder entered the MLB in 2005, where he only had 59 at bats that year, and became a full time starter in 2006, he has hit 230 home runs, totaling over 40, twice, once in 2007 when he hit 50 home runs, and in 2009, when he hit 46 home runs. The least amount of home runs he has ever hit in the majors since becoming the full time starter is 28 in 2006, his first full year with the Brewers. Not only does Prince hit lots of homers, but his home runs are deep bombs, legitimate tape measure shots. He’s now moving into a more spacious park, Comerica Park, where it’s more of a pitchers park then Miller Park in Milwaukee. If he can bring that same power to Comerica Park, the Tigers are in position, as a team, to be at the top of the league in home runs. They ranked 11th in 2011, with 169 home runs. I can definitely see them getting very close to 200 in 2012, where only the Yankees (222), the Rangers (210), and the Redsox (203) hit over 200 in 2011. The length and amount of money associated with this deal is risky, but Fielder is still only 27 years old, so it’s a risk that can definitely be taken.
So at 27 years old, and given a nine year contract, Prince Fielder will be 36 years old when the contract is up, and if he continue’s this same production throughout this contract, you’d think that he would just be getting out of his prime and would at least be nearing the end of his career. Seeing Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, two of the best power hitters of this era, batting back to back, will be a treat to all baseball fans, as there’s a legitimate chance both will sometime in the future enter the 500 home run club, and maybe even the 600 home run club. Miguel Cabrera currently sits at 277 career home runs, at age 28, and Prince Fielder is currently sitting at 230 home runs, at age 27, and will play for at least nine more years. Fielder averages 33 home runs per season, and Cabrera averages 31 home runs, so if both average those numbers for the next 5-10 years, both can easily soar into the 500 home run club together, granted the Tigers re-sign Cabrera for a few more years after his contract is up in 2015. Do I like this deal for the Tigers? Yes, I do like the deal as they have a slugging first basemen for the next nine years, and he’s only 27 years old, so the contract will take him through the prime of his career. Some people are wary of giving a player of his size that many years and money, but remember, he can DH whenever he wants, and the deal wouldn’t bring him to his age 40 season, he’ll only be 36 at the end of this long contract. Of course you’d have to worry about a guy slacking off or breaking down after being handed a huge contract like this, but Fielder doesn’t strike me to be that type of player, judging by his background and putting up huge numbers every year since joining the MLB and not missing more then 10 games in any season. People will also say it’s too much money for Fielder, but he’s a first baseman, and first baseman are all getting huge mega deals these days, and to get a player of Fielder’s caliber, at 27 years old, who puts up huge numbers every year, for $214 million over nine years, I think it’s a great deal for both sides. Go ahead, bash me for thinking its a great deal, but hey it’s my opinion, and I’m entitled to it, and this is what I think.
The Tigers are going to be one hell of a hitting team once they get Victor Martinez back in 2013. This team right now can easily go up against any of the other big spending AL powers, such as the Yankees, Redsox, Rangers, and Angels. I am in no way already branding the Tigers the AL representative in the World Series, as the AL is wide open to any team, but I will brand the Tigers the AL Central division champions for the second year in a row and will make the playoffs. Well there is that, Prince Fielder inks a mega deal with the Detroit Tigers, and I think it’s a great deal, and am ALREADY, on January 26th, 2012, before spring training has even begun, branding the Tigers the AL Central champions. I also do think, that Detroit will win a championship at one point, with this lineup and rotation, it’s just too good, to think can’t win a championship. So what do you guys think? Do you think the Tigers made the right choice giving Prince Fielder a nine year, $214 million deal?