As everyone has already probably heard, Prince Fielder signed a nine-year $214 million deal this afternoon with the Detroit Tigers. Scott Boras and the infamous Myster Team have won again and it may have not been for the best. There are many things about this deal that spell trouble, but also many good things.
A player of the caliber of Prince Fielder doesn’t come around very often. Last year he hit .299/.415/.566 with 38 home runs and 120 RBI’s in 162 games. He has played at least 157 games per year since 2006. His average OBP during those years of .390 shows how well he controls the strike zone. His defense at 1st isn’t the best in the league by no means, but he can flash the leather every now and then. So, I think I can safely say that the son of legendary slugger Cecil Fielder isn’t too shabby with a bat in his hands.
The first problem I have with this deal is finding the need for a commitment this large. We found out a few days ago that the Tiger’s primary DH, Victor Martinez, will probably miss the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL. This could potentially have been devestating to a very productive 1-2 punch of Miguel Cabrera – V-Mart. There are many other DH sluggers on the free agent market right now that would have come at a much cheaper price, and wouldn’t necessitate the position change of another $20 million a year player in Cabrera. We’ve seen Cabrera play third in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. The rookie at the time helped lead that team to a WS win. He has only played 17 games at third since being traded to the Tigers in 2007. With that trade and the move to first came the ill-advised weight gain. After looking at pictures of 2003 Cabrera and comparing them with the 2012 version, the difference is substantial. A much more limited range and natural arm strength deterioration could make this move potentially disastrous. That being said, I do think Cabrera is the type of player that could make it work. I think for 2012 this move probably just replaces V-Mart’s excellent DH production, 2013 on the other hand could be a huge year for the Tiger’s, given all three of them are healthy and playing to the caliber that they are capable of. So, in short, Lets hope the Rangers don’t see this team in the playoffs anymore.
Another problem I have with this signing is the nature of how quickly it came about. I have no insight into the front office of the Tiger’s organization, but it seems as if this move was made out of fear and a bad reaction to the injury to Martinez. There were cheaper options available that wouldn’t have given this team the same production that they will be getting from Prince, or Martinez, but pretty darn close. In my money management mindset, I would have to say this deal was wrong on all levels.
Now on my mindset of what is good for the game, and Detroit as an ailing city in need, this signing was huge. With rough times falling on Detroit as a whole, Detroit owner Mike Llitch took some of the pressure off of the good Detroit people, and said “Do not fret folks, we still believe”. This inking is going to give a down trodden community with many financial issues a reason to get out and enjoy themselves. It shows how well Major League Baseball and Commisioner Bud Selig are doing in a down economy. It makes sure that there will be a show for the Detroit fan base every night at Comerica Park. It also rekindles some memories, seeing Fielder on the back of a Tiger’s Jersey once again.
Now, how does this move effect the Rangers? I’m not quite sure yet, but it will in some way. I can only imagine how differently the ALCS would have been with The Big Guy hitting behind Miggy and in front of V-Mart. I can’t wait until the season starts so that these questions will be answered, and i’m sure that im not the only one that feels this way. Stay thirsty my friends, until next time, Go Rangers.