There may be no other baseball person who hates the deal that Albert Pujols got more than Prince Fielder. Coming out of the 2011 baseball season these two huge name first basemen went on the free agent market. Both players were destined to be marquee names in whatever team they ended up going. While every team in the majors would love to have either one of them it is a fact that both are going to cost their team a mint. Going into the 2011 Winter Meetings in Dallas even money had Pujols returning to the St Louis Cardinals. But that’s why people gamble.
The St Louis Cardinals were assumed to have offered Pujols a 10 year 220$ million contract and the ability to continue to have St Louis be his playground. It was assumed that the Miami Marlins fresh from their spending binge had a 10 year offer on the table in the neighborhood of 200$ million and perhaps a third mystery team had entered the scene. This third mystery team turned out to be the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim who gave him a club friendly back loaded contract for 10 years 240$ million, plus incentives that are enough to make the skeptical fan wonder what Pujols has on Angels owner Arte Moreno.
At the 11th hour Pujols, Moreno and Dan Lozano (Pujols’ agent) put together this contract that allowed the Angels to also scoop up former Rangers pitcher C. J. Wilson. Since that faithful day in December Prince Fielder has seen the teams interested in him dry up to virtually nothing, which cannot be good for his agent the infamous Scott Boras’ ego.
Let’s look at the two sluggers and see what the difference, if any, between them is. Albert Pujols is allegedly 31 going on 32 this month with 11 seasons in the majors. Prince Fielder the estranged son of former slugger Cecil Fielder is a legitimate 27 with 7 years in the bigs. Pujols is 6’3” 230 pounds and Fielder is a vegan powered 5’11” 275. Pujols’ career numbers are .328/.420/.617 in 6312 at bats with 445 home runs, 1329 RBI and 2073 hits. Fielder’s career numbers are .282/.390/.540 in 3527 at bats with 230 home runs, 656 RBI and 996 hits.
2011 numbers for the pair are for Pujols .299/.366/.541 with 37 home runs and 173 hits. Fielder hit .299/.415/.566 with 38 home runs and 170 hits. 2011 advantage Fielder.
2010 offensive production for Pujols was .312/.414/.596 with 42 home runs and 183 hits. Fielder had numbers of .261/.401/.471 with 32 home runs and 83 RBI. Advantage Pujols, but Pujols also had declining numbers in 2011.
Offensively Prince Fielder is growing still working on figuring out his swing consistently. Albert Pujols statistically is in a very slight down ward trend for the last two years which may be troubling considering he was in a contract year.
Fielder is a younger hitter who I personally think is not as good of a defensive player as Pujols but he has more of a lifespan left playing. Fielder is facing a group of problems that are delaying his signing.
One his agent Scott Boras is hated by more teams than not, he would have never had a client sign a contract like Pujols. Two his body of work is not going to get him a 10 year mega deal like Pujols got and must look at a 5-7 year contract. Three, pride, he is going to have accept that he is not as valuable Pujols and that is not an easy fact to swallow.
Of the clubs currently rumored to be looking at Fielder, Cubs, Nationals, Mariners and Rangers I think it is an easy task to cut the number of teams lower. The Cubs are in full rebuild mode and I don’t see Theo Epstein building his team around Fielder. The Mariners play in a pitchers park which will hurt his stats, as well as them not being a contending team makes his signing there a slim chance. The Nationals are poised to fight for the NL East and his bat would be a counter to Ryan Howard with the Phillies, he fits there.
The Rangers have expressed confidence that Mitch Moreland is their first baseman. But his bat at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington could be deadly. At the right price he is a Ranger, and I think that price ultimately depends on the final price for Yu Darvish. Play his ego with the chance to battle Pujols head to head may help get him into Rangers gear.