Blog Entry

Prince Fielder signs with the Tigers

Posted on: January 24, 2012 3:02 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 7:04 pm

By Matt Snyder

Chalk up one more for the so-called mystery team. First it was Cliff Lee going to the Phillies, then Albert Pujols heading to the Angels. Now Prince Fielder has shocked the baseball world by signing with the Detroit Tigers, a team that hadn't even been remotely connected to him in rumors the entire offseason. The robust first baseman has signed a nine-year contract worth $214 million, insider Jon Heyman has learned.

The Tigers were recently dealt what appeared to be a pretty severe blow, as Victor Martinez tore his ACL and could miss the entire 2012 season. So there went Miguel Cabrera's lineup protection, right? Think again. Owner Mike Ilitch really wants to win a World Series championship and this signing indicates one of the strongest reactions one can even imagine to news like that.

Prince to Tigers
Heyman also notes that the finalists to land Fielder were the Nationals, Tigers and one other "mystery team." So it's entirely possible the Nationals would have come away with Fielder had Martinez not torn his ACL. It's funny how things work sometimes.

A Fielder-Cabrera combo in the middle of that order will dominate AL Central pitching. Throw Justin Verlander into the mix, and the Tigers have three of baseball's biggest stars.

Fielder, 27, hit .299/.415/.566 with 38 homers, 120 RBI, 95 runs and 36 doubles last season for the NL Central champion Brewers. He finished third in MVP voting and also took home the All-Star Game MVP. Though Fielder is a large man, he is as durable as they come. He hasn't played in less than 157 games in a season since becoming a regular. He played in all 162 last season, following up seasons where he appeared in 161 and 162 games, respectively.

The smart money with Fielder and Cabrera is a split at first base, with the other serving as the designated hitter. Then again, what if the Tigers got nuts and tried to shove Cabrera back across the diamond to play third base again -- where he began his career? That would mean the infield defense would be awful, but would also leave room for a better hitting DH than Brandon Inge (who, at this point, looks like the third baseman). And if Victor Martinez comes back healthy? It works even better.

The Tigers won the AL Central by 15 games last season. Even if Martinez misses all of the 2012 season, Fielder is a pretty sizeable upgrade to the offense. So it would appear the division is the Tigers' to lose.

For now, though, the only details that really matter are that Prince Fielder is heading to Detroit -- where his father once held down the middle of the order -- and he's going to make a whole lot of money.

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Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 8:30 pm

Prince Fielder signs with the Tigers

To ( Schmolik ) the phillies fan. With Pujols and Fielder in the al Joey Votto all star game starter at 1st nl not Howard? hell it could be Paul Goldschmidt the starter and Votto on the bench Howard home with family not a bad thing either.Howard has to get health and get his inside out swing back before he even thinks of an all star game.

Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 8:14 pm

Prince Fielder signs with the Tigers

So do we think the Nationals are the front runner for Cespedes?

the front runner for Cespedes is the Miami Marlins.  they already said they were willing to make a stupid offer to sign him, as they see him as the perfect fit for their organization.

i will say this -- do not be suprised to see the Tigers throw their hat into the ring for Cespedes as well.  Illitch turned the Red Wings into the NYY of the NHL before the salary cap, so he isn't afraid to throw money around.

also don't be suprised to see Illitch shell out for a one year contract for a 5th starter too, instead of going with one of the young bucks from the minors.

i think you will be seeing the Tigers making a couple trades before Spring Training to add some speed to their lineup, as well as an OF who can cover some ground at one of the corner OF spots.  i can't imagine delmon young will be on the Tigers when SpringTraining starts.  i think he will be dealt away. 

Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 8:09 pm

Prince Fielder signs with the Tigers

For those of you replying to my post and calling me names, get a life. Everyone has an opinion and here's the basis for mine. The Yankees have horrible contracts too but the difference is that they can absorb them much more easily than a small market team. The tigers have been crying poverty for years in a so called small market hit hard by the recession. The Yankees bad contracts should have no bearing on how the tigers run their team. I think if pujols was not a FA this season you can make the case the tigers were just looking to catch the biggest fish, but despite his age I don't know how you can make the comparison of him to pujols. Pujols can retire today and be a first ballot hall of famer. Look at fielders number two years ago(they were not great). He will never be the overall great player that pujols is. Who else was giving fielder 9 years??? They definitely over spent for a guy that had to be getting nervous about getting a deal this late in the offseason. Pujols contract is bad as well but I still feel in the context of this offseason and the market the tigers play in, this is a horrible move for them. P.S. I'm much more afraid as a Yankee fan of the Angels and the Rangers than the tigers. 
Care to explain to me how the Tigers were crying poverty, ever???  The ONLY thing the Tigers fans bitched about with the team was that Illitch (the owner) had no problem turning the Red Wings into the NYY of the NHL, but refused to spend on the Tigers.  Reason was -- he wanted a new stadium and wouldn't invest in the team til he could get a new stadium built.  

Fast forward -- the NHL puts in a salary cap, Illitch gets a new stadium built and takes the money he was pouring into the Red Wings and invests in the Tigers.  They have had a salary in the 100 million range for quite some time.

I can say without a doubt -- Illitch will be lucky to break even this year with the amount he is spending on the team salaries and will probably be that way for a while.  I don't think he cares, as he just wants to win and at 82, he isn't getting any younger.

No one knows what the offers Fielder had on the table, as nothing was being reported.  Personally I think 9 years is too long for any player, but at 27, he will only be 36 in the last year, so he will still be somewhat productive, especially with the DH spot in the AL.

And the ONLY reason Detroit signed Fielder is they lost VMart and I guarantee that is when Illitch gave the GM the green light to sign Fielder.  Just the fact you said it was the worst signing in your lifetime is the reason people responded, as the Yankees have about dozen contracts in the last 10 years that were much worse than signing one of the top sluggers in baseball at 27 to a 9 year deal. 

Since: Jun 24, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:43 pm

Prince Fielder signs with the Tigers

when snyder says that the defense will be awful, i think he is talking more about the frying pan that fielder tries to catch with than cabrera. lets not forget that the horrid brewer defense combined with great cards hitting downed them in the playoffs. and i dont care what kind of shape cabrera gets in, he weighs AT LEAST 30 more lbs now than he did when he was a skinny, young 3B for marlins. Probably closer to 50 more lbs. He will get eaten alive at third base, and everyone will want Inge's glove back after 2 months into the season.

Since: Dec 14, 2011
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:37 pm

Prince Fielder signs with the Tigers

Mark Antanasio has been a gift to the Brewers after all the Bud/Wendy Selig years.  Brewers won NL Central and playoff against the DB's.  He offers players such as CC Sabathia and Prince Fielder 20 million a year to stay X amount of years.  And that is Mark Antanasio's gift to his players that sets the bar for the highest-est-est bidder.    

Since: Sep 17, 2008
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:35 pm

Prince Fielder signs with the Tigers

prince at first and now miggy to 3rd base?  is is he planning on dropping 30 lbs?  last he played that with the marlins he was much slimmer guy.
their 2nd and SS better start hitting the treadmill... they will have to cover that whole infield.

Since: Sep 5, 2011
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:18 pm

Prince Fielder signs with the Tigers

My only concern on top of the tigers being ridiculous on the offensive side is what are they gonna do defensively. A periodic game at DH for Fielder is fine but to split him and Cabrera seems a little far fetched to get them in any type of rhthym which i think will affect their stats on a whole through out the year regardless of their talent. On paper it looks like a great deal when you look at the potential line up card on a daily basis for the next few years but defensively i don't like the make up of the infield if they were to put cabrera over on 3rd...i don't know probably just pissed that the jays will be in tough again this year with the tigers who seem to give us some issues on a yearly basis anyway lol...curious on everyone else's thoughts....Cheers!!!!

Cabrera said he is going to move to 3rd thats what he was when he came into the league, he says he is excited to go back to 3rd, so i guess we will see how that plays out. At least that tells me we are going to finally get rig of brandon inge and his dead weight bat.

Since: Dec 10, 2007
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:17 pm

Prince Fielder signs with the Tigers

 That would mean the infield defense would be awful,

Let's not give Miggy a complex so soon. His career .950 fielding percentage at 3B is the same as Michael Young's last two years at third, virtually the same as David Wright's career mark of .951 and remarkably, not so far behind Adrian Beltre's career mark of .957. Range not withstanding, a couple of errors a year in difference will not qualify as awful and would be a welcome trade-off for Brandon Inge's .235 career BA - if he recovers from his Dunn-esque .197 of last year.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:17 pm

Prince Fielder signs with the Tigers

The Rangers don't need more hitting, they were one of the best in the league last year, and before that. Pitching always wins over hitting. Anyways good luck Tiger fans, we will see how it all works out in the end.

Not sure how much you follow other teams or pitchers outside of the Rangers pitching staff but a staff consisting of Verlander, Fister, Scherzer and Porcello is a top 4 with a ton of potential.  And a bullpen with Benoit setting up Valverde is damn good too. 

Since: Sep 28, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:17 pm

Prince Fielder signs with the Tigers

So do we think the Nationals are the front runner for Cespedes?

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