Prince Fielder is off the market. He will not be playing for the Rangers in 2012 and beyond.
Yesterday afternoon information started to leak out about a deal with a mystery team, which turned out to be the Detroit Tigers. Once it was reported as official, we learned of the monster numbers involved ($214MM for 9 years without an opt-out clause). So, regardless of what happens, Prince will end his career in Detroit and be a very, very, very, very rich man when he does.
If I were a Tigers fan, I’m not sure how I would feel about all of this. There was a lot of panic when Victor Martinez (the Tigers’ primary DH and sometimes catcher) went down with an injury that will probably sideline him for all of 2012. Fielder will more than make up for the loss of Martinez’ production.
This is a really stupid contract, though.
Nine years is a long time. Fielder is almost 28 and already out of shape. What will he look like when he’s 37? How long before he’s a $23MM/y designated hitter?
On top of that, $214MM is a lot of money. How are the Tigers going to put the best team on the field if they keep giving ridiculous contracts to aging players? What about their current stars, like Justin Verlander? Will they be able to pay him what he deserves when the time comes?*
*I hope not. I want Verlander in Arlington playing for his boyhood idol, Nolan Ryan.
Based on what I’ve read, it sounds like the Tigers did what the Rangers were doing for all those years under Tom Hicks. That is to say, their owner circumvented their GM (and common sense) and signed Fielder for too much money that didn’t need to be spent.
In fact, I think it probably went exactly like this —
The GM: We don’t really need Prince Fielder. We’ve already got Miguel Cabrera at 1B.
The Owner begins filling out a check for $214,000,000.
The GM: Sir, I don’t think this–
The Owner continues filling out the check.
The GM: Sir, if you’ll listen, I really don’t–
The Owner has the GM killed and replaced by a cyborg, because the Owner has just that much money.
The Owner goes back to filling out the check. His hand cramps up from writing all of those 0’s. He finishes filling out the check in the morning.
We saw something similar with the Angels when they signed Albert Pujols. Some owners just can’t help but get involved. They still think that championships can be bought, refusing to learn from the mistakes of those that came before.
There’s no sense in it, but at least it isn’t my team that’s shelling out all of that money. The Rangers seem to have learned their lesson.
Too bad it had to be the hard way.