Tag:Prince Fielder
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:08 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 7:50 pm
 

'Mystery Team' goes from joke to major player

Mystery Team

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Once again, the Mystery Team got its man, as Prince Fielder is headed to Detroit -- not Washington or Texas.

Last November, the idea of a "Mystery Team" was a joke -- a meme making fun of writers who dared to suggest there were things they didn't know, a team that could get by the new world order of Twitter and the 86,400 second news cycle. One blogger even called the chance of Cliff Lee signing with anyone other than the Yankees or Rangers "the invention of an agent" who was using a writer who dared to buck the status quo. That blogger even highlighted his jabs at the writer with a picture of the Mystery Machine, the vehicle of choice for Scooby Doo and pals. And it wasn't just snarky bloggers who have more jokes than information, mainstream writers got in on the meme as well.

Prince to Tigers
And then, well… Cliff Lee signed with the Mystery Team.

And so did Adrian Beltre.

But that didn't stop the barbs. After Albert Pujols went to Anaheim and now Prince Fielder to Tigers, the Mystery Team is no joke.

It's almost to the point where for the biggest of the big free agents, the Mystery Team is a favorite. And if we're not there, we're probably to the point where the Mystery Team should never be counted out of the running, and certainly to the point where it shouldn't be mocked.

The biggest reason there's more Mystery Team chatter is because there's more chatter, the people making the biggest decisions are doing so with respect to Twitter and the proliferation of outlets reporting on baseball and sports, in general. We're at the point where fans see an interviewing Theo Epstein in a Chicago Starbucks and it makes national news. The teams aren't laughing about "bloggers in their mother's basements" anymore -- it's serious stuff. If rivals learn of a team's plan, it can cost them on the field and off the field in terms of money.

In response, teams are being much more careful about where they are seen and who they are seen with. At the winter meetings, teams will use service elevators and back hallways, places unavailable to the public -- and the press -- to get around.

Also, when it comes to the highest levels of free agents, the type that could cost $100 or $200 million, you're not talking about a general manager having the final say, it's the owners who have to pull the trigger. That leads to an agent, such as Scott Boras, dealing with the money people, not the baseball people who have less of an incentive to keep quiet. The more people who know that a team is considering signing a player, the more chance it can leak out. At some point, the GM can say, "yeah, I'd love to have Albert Pujols." And that's a no-brainer. It's all up to the owner to decide if he wants to spend the money, so he meets with the agent, and maybe the player.

There are still cases like Jose Reyes, where pretty much everyone assumed he'd end up in Miami, but we're also at the point where you should never, ever count out the Mystery Team.

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Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:40 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 5:59 pm
 

Prince adds new look to Tigers' lineup



By C. Trent Rosecrans


Last week we all wondered how the Tigers would replace the injured Victor Martinez in the lineup -- today we got our answer.

Prince Fielder immediately restores some roar to the Tiger lineup and makes a nice 3-4 combo with Miguel Cabrera, forming perhaps the most feared duo in baseball. And in 2013 you have a 3-4-5 of Cabrera, Fielder and Martinez -- all for the low, low price of $346.5 million (or $69.3 million pizzas from Little Ceaser's) for all three over the course of their contracts.

So, if Fielder signing with the Tigers is the biggest surprise of the day, how about this for the second-biggest shock? The move means Miguel Cabrera is likely headed back to third base. Yep, the bad defensive first baseman will now be a horrendous defensive third baseman (much to the chagrin of Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and Co.).

That means the rumors of the Johnny Damon return to Detroit make a little more sense, with the Tigers no longer needing a slugging DH. For now, though, I'll make my lineup with Don Kelly as the DH, knowing that the Tigers could still add a stopgap DH type, like Damon.

Prince to Tigers
Here's a too-early, first-stab at the new Tiger lineup:
1. Austin Jackson CF
2. Brennan Boesch RF
3. Miguel Cabrera 3B
4. Prince Fielder 1B
5. Delmon Young LF
6. Don Kelly DH
7. Jhonny Peralta SS
8. Alex Avila C
9. Ryan Raburn 2B

This, of course, could change at a moment's notice, but it also keeps the door open for a seemless transition when Martinez returns from his knee injury. Or the Tigers could realize that Cabrera at third base is a terrible idea and then they'll be overloaded with first basemen and designated hitters. Whatever happens, Mike Illitch is going to be signing some big checks and Verlander should have more run support.

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Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:25 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?



By Matt Snyder


Two superstar first basemen helped lead NL Central teams into the playoffs in 2011. In 2012, each will be playing in the American League.

Albert Pujols signed a whopping 10-year, $254 million contract to leave St. Louis and head to the Angels. Several weeks later (today), Prince Fielder accepted a nine-year, $214 million deal to join the Detroit Tigers.

We long had this matchup slated to run at some point in this Would You Rather Have series, but wanted to hold off until the dollar figures were known. Obviously if Fielder signed for half what Pujols did -- especially being younger -- he'd be the choice. But we now have contracts that are essentially apples to apples, as they're close enough in average annual value. 

Would You Rather Have
The case for Pujols

Ever since Barry Bonds retired, Pujols has been either the consensus best player in baseball or the runner-up (at times Alex Rodriguez was considered superior). Pujols has won three MVPs and finished in the top 10 of MVP voting every single season of his career -- and the top five all but one time. He already has 445 home runs and sports an absurd 1.037 career OPS (170 OPS-plus).

On top of all the considerable damage Pujols can do with his bat, he's a well-rounded player. He's widely regarded as an exceptional baserunner and an above average defender. He's certainly a much better defender than Fielder, so leave the puns alone.

Pujols also doesn't have the weight concerns many attach to Fielder.

The case for Fielder

He's no slouch with the bat himself. In only six full seasons -- and change -- Fielder has 230 homers and a .929 OPS. Last season he hit 38 home runs and drove home 120. For the third consecutive season, Fielder drew more than 100 walks, too, so his plate discipline can rival that of Pujols. And Fielder does have three top-four finishes in MVP voting in the past five seasons.

Despite concerns about weight, Fielder trumps Pujols in the durability category. Prince has only missed one game in the past three seasons combined. In his six full seasons, Fielder has averaged 160 games played. And that's a segue to the age issue.

Prince Fielder is only 27 -- he'll turn 28 this May. Albert Pujols just turned 32. And Pujols' contract is one year longer.

So, obviously Pujols would have been the choice for this past decade, but what about the decade to come?

Our call

I'm sticking with Pujols in a ridiculously difficult choice. Each player probably switches to designated hitter around the same time and I'll take Pujols' defense as the separation point in the next few years.

Fan Vote:



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

Prince Fielder signs with the Tigers



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, CBSSports.com 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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Posted on: January 21, 2012 11:02 am
Edited on: January 21, 2012 1:46 pm
 

Ryan: Rangers unsure of Fielder's demands

Prince Fielder

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Prince Fielder is still a free agent, but it may be because Fielder and agent Scott Boras haven't told anyone exactly what they're looking to get in a new contract.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

Rangers president Nolan Ryan said he doesn't know what it would take to sign Fielder, despite having meetings with the slugger and the superagent. Speaking to ESPN Dallas 103.3 (via the Washington Times), Ryan said he didn't know what it'd take to sign Fielder.

"Hard to say," Ryan said. "Because they've never made a firm proposal to us. They talk in generalities and numbers and other people's contracts, and so you can speculate what it is. One time they're talking eight years, one time they're talking 10 years, one time they're talking about a contract bigger than Ryan Howard's in Philadelphia."

Howard signed a five-year, $135 million extension in 2010 that begins in the 2012 season. Howard's contract will pay him $20 million in the next two seasons and $25 million in the last three with a $23 million club option  for 2017 with a $10 million buyout. Fielder, though, is five years younger than Howard.

There's also Albert Pujols' megadeal out there as well for comparison. Pujols signed a 10-year deal worth $240 million.

Another member of the Rangers' brass, co-chairman of the board Bob Simpson, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the Rangers aren't necessarily out of the bidding for Fielder, but would need Fielder's price to come down and accept a backloaded deal.

"If they come around to something we can do, we'll take a look at it," Simpson told the newspaper.

However, Simpson told reporters (via the Star-Telegram) that the team would rather re-sign Josh Hamilton than Fielder. Hamilton is a free agent after the season. Simpson said it's unlikely the team could afford both.

"My personal preference, at this moment, would be to re-sign him instead of having Fielder. But we could all debate that," Simpson said. "The organization has its feelings. Everybody dreams about having both. Sometimes you can’t have both at some level. If they came around to something we’d do, we’d look at him. But we don’t think it’s likely."

The Nationals and Rangers are the teams most often linked to Fielder, but don't be surprised if a "mystery team" gets involved -- and remember the "mystery team" has a pretty good track record the last two seasons, signing both Cliff Lee and Pujols.

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Posted on: January 14, 2012 5:41 pm
 

Hamilton won't talk contract after spring starts

Josh Hamilton

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Once spring training starts, Josh Hamilton wants contract talks to stop. The 30-year-old outfielder and 2010 American League MVP is set to be a free agent after the 2012 season and said he prefers to stay in Texas, but won't talk contract after reporting to Surprise, Ariz., next month.

Hamilton is set to make $13.75 million this season and become a free agent after the season.

"There's nothing to worry about," Hamilton told reporters, including Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram. "I'm focused on this year and doing what I need to do."

Last season Albert Pujols said the same thing about his status with the Cardinals, that he wouldn't discuss an extension after joining St. Louis for spring, but he hoped to retire a Cardinal -- and we all know how that worked out.

As for the other free agent first baseman from this winter, Hamilton said he'd heard reports the Rangers met with Fielder on Friday and would welcome him to the team.

"To imagine him in our lineup, it's pretty ridiculous looking," Hamilton said.

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Posted on: January 14, 2012 1:01 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 1:02 pm
 

Ryan calls meeting with Fielder 'preliminary'

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Rangers met with Prince Fielder on Friday, but team president Nolan Ryan told fans at the team's FanFest on Saturday that the meeting was a "preliminary." He also said he expects the team to sign Yu Darvish before Wednesday's deadline.

From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
"We met with Prince yesterday, and our mindset is that we're constantly trying to improve the ballclub. We look at any opportunity to do that that we have. We met with Prince yesterday and his agent, Scott Boras, to try to get a true feel for where they are at this point in time in his free agency to try to see if we thought there might be something there that works for the Texas Rangers. It was very preliminary, and it's very early in any type of negotiation process to even say if there's anything that's going to come of that our not. So, it was an initial meeting that we had."
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Posted on: January 13, 2012 4:58 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 5:44 pm
 

Fielder in Texas meeting with Rangers

Prince Fielder

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Rangers are meeting Friday with Prince Fielder at a Dallas-area hotel, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted and CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman confirms. Heyman, though, notes not to read too much into the meeting, that the Rangers the first stop on the Princeapalooza Tour 2012 -- with future stops left in as many as three more cities.

Prince Fielder

Fielder's the last big free-agent name on the market, and the Rangers could use a first baseman, making them a perfect match. O course, there could be the matter of the money and length of contract, but on the field, it would be hard not to see a match made in heaven between Fielder and Texas. Not that this meeting means anything is happening right now, but the Rangers are thinking about the possibility, it seems.

The Rangers currently have Mitch Moreland playing first right now, and saying Fielder would be an upgrade is an understatement. Moreland's a decent player. The 26-year-old hit .259/.320/.414 with 16 homers in 512 plate appearances, which is hardly middle-of-the-order stuff, but the Rangers didn't need a middle-of-the-order guy at first base. Fielder at first base, though, would make the potent Rangers lineup that much more potent.

The Angels' signings of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson has made Los Angeles a favorite in some quarters. If the Rangers could sign Fielder and Yu Darvish, it would be tough to pick even the improved Angels over the Rangers as a pre-season favorite in the AL West.

However, the meeting could be a mirage of some sort. If the Rangers don't want to spend the money for Fielder, they could be posturing as a negotiation tactic as the deadline for signing Darvish nears. Many have seen Fielder as a backup plan for Darvish for Texas. Without spending for Darvish, Texas could afford to shell out the big bucks for Fielder. Rangers officials have told people they can't afford both Darvish and Fielder, but there have been bigger surprises before.

It could also be posturing on the part of Fielder and agent Scott Boras to show the Nationals that Fielder has other suitors other than Washington.

Whatever happens, someone will have Fielder come spring training and that team will be better than they were before inking the first baseman.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com