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The Prince Fielder contract: all kinds of crazy

Jan 24, 2012, 5:15 PM EDT

Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks

For almost every big free agent deal there are (a) the financial implications; and (b) the baseball implications. Often a deal is good on the baseball side of things but not so good on the financial side of things.  In the case of Prince Fielder going to the Tigers for nine years and $214 million, it makes very little sense on either side of the ledger.

This is not to say that signing Prince Fielder makes the Tigers a worse baseball team in 2012 than they were in 2011. Far from it.  With Victor Martinez out all year following knee surgery and the Tigers’ lineup already looking suspect beyond MVP-caliber first basemen Miguel Cabrera, Fielder’s bat is going to pay immediate dividends and should make the Tigers the favorites to repeat in the AL Central.

But what helps the lineup in 2012 creates both roster problems and financial problems going forward.

Victor Martinez will be back in 2013 and will be owed $13 million. And he’s still under contract for 2014 to the tune of $12 million. Thanks to the presence of Alex Avila and his own balky knees, Martinez’s days at catcher are basically over. That means that in Fielder, Cabrera and Martinez, the Tigers will have three expensive men for two positions for at least two years after this one. And to be honest, come 2014, all three of them should probably be playing DH anyway, as both Cabrera and Fielder are among the worst defensive first basemen in baseball.

But the roster problems extend beyond next year, and they become combined roster/payroll problems.  The $214 million owed Fielder, as well as the money owed Cabrera and Martinez, already represent a lot of cash owed to very few players.  Then you figure that Justin Verlander is going to need a pretty massive extension before the end of the 2014 season and you have a very top-heavy payroll.

And finally, there’s the contract for its own sake. Prince Fielder turns 28 early this season, so he is younger than your average big-splash free agent and thus nine years for him isn’t as bad as nine years for a 30 or 31-year-old. But it’s hard to envision a world in which paying him $40 million for 2019 and 2020 is going to pay off for the Tigers.  Such contracts have rarely if ever paid off for anyone.

But that’s the future. For the present, this deal does make the Tigers better.  Not perfect. The Tigers still have many holes in their lineup.  The team’s strength is still its pitching. Justin Verlander is the best in the AL, but it’s not like he can get better than he was in 2011. Jose Valverde was fantastic in 2011, but he’s actually, you know, gonna blow some saves at some point. Maybe Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer improve. Maybe they don’t. The point is that there are way more moving parts on a team than the well-appointed third and fourth slots in the 2012 Tigers’ lineup.

Signing Fielder likely ensures another AL Central crown. So, if you’re a Tigers fan, yes, you should be happy. But it doesn’t guarantee anything more than that and may hinder the Tigers’ competitiveness in the future. So try to keep your excitement under control.

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    This is the worst contract I have ever been witness to.

    • bloodysock - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:36 PM

      Mike Hampton? Barry Zito? A-Rod (Rangers)? Darren Dreifort? Chan Ho Park? Richie Sexson? Kei Igawa? Keep going?

      • El Bravo - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:46 PM

        Adam Dunn? Jason Werth? Carl Crawford? Dice-K? Derek Lowe? RYAN F@CKING HOWARD??

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:48 PM

        Darren Dreifort – wow, good reference.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:11 PM

        A-Rod was actually worth the Rangers’ deal. It’s the Yankees’ extension that’s terrible.

        Substitute Vernon Wells in there, though. And Ryan Howard.

        Can’t call the Fielder contract the worst yet. Give it a few years. But it’s definitely a pretty high-ceiling prospect.

      • paperlions - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:43 PM

        It is probably not as bad as the Pujols Contract either….Fielder may be fat and a bad fielder….but his contract will be over when he’s “only” 36, Pujols’ won’t end until he’s 41. That might be 5 years of albatross contract.

      • wfon1 - Jan 24, 2012 at 7:18 PM

        Mo Vaugn (Angels)!

      • Ari Collins - Jan 24, 2012 at 7:46 PM

        Pujols’ contract might be bad, it might not. But Fielder’s is bad almost right away.

        Pujols was better last year in his worst year than Fielder’s been on average in the last few years. He’s starting from a much higher baseline, and while he’s older, he’s in better shape, so it’s hard to say he’ll decline faster.

      • dondada10 - Jan 24, 2012 at 11:12 PM

        With all the Jays fans on HBT, how did Vernon Wells not get listed in this airing of grievances?

      • jeffthomasb - Jan 24, 2012 at 11:21 PM

        How about the 2-year extension given to Selig? For me that’s the contract elephant sitting right in the middle of the room.

      • cmutimmah - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:46 PM

        Everyone realizes that Victor Martinez can be traded if things don’t work out… right?

        It costs a lot of money to get players like Fielder in their prime. He’s 27. I think this is a lot of fans of the Nats, Cubs, etc that thought they had a shot at him and missed out.

        Maybe he Adam Dunns it in the American League… either way, he’ll be the DH soon. Lots of money for a DH, we shall see how the future works… but as of right now, the Tigers lineup looks pretty ridiculous.

      • Alban - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:08 PM

        Alfonso Soriano? Carlos Zambrano?

    • Ari Collins - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:16 PM

      Dunn and Werth and Crawford are too early to tell, Dice-K and Lowe have provided plenty of value (if not their money’s worth).

      I should say also that no matter how much I criticize it, the Ryan Howard deal hasn’t even started yet. So it’s too early to tell. But considering he’d have to go back to being an MVP candidate in his ’30s to break even on the deal, it’s pretty likely to be up there by the end.

      • acheron2112 - Jan 25, 2012 at 8:38 AM

        Daisuke’s contract was fine. Even given that he is losing a year+ to TJ surgery, he’s already provided a solid average value for the contract, and he still might come back and do something more in the second half of this season.

        Now, when you add in the posting fee, obviously that makes a difference. If you just add that on to the contract, then certainly he hasn’t provided anywhere close to that value. But that’s different money. He’s not getting it, and it didn’t directly come out of the Red Sox’s payroll. Combining them always struck me as a bit disingenuous: it’s what Shaughnessy and his ilk do so they can write their columns.

        (Don’t take this that I don’t think he was a disappointment, because certainly he was and the Red Sox were hoping to get more. Just that it’s more complicated than “fee+contract=total”.)

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:44 PM

      Nope, if my predictions for Fielder pan out this will go down as the worst sports contract in the history of sports contracts…..one that will change the way GM’s hand out contracts.

      • dwrek5 - Jan 24, 2012 at 7:35 PM

        What are “your predictions” for Fielder?

    • brewcitybummer - Jan 24, 2012 at 10:31 PM

      Nobody knows exactly how Prince will age, but for now Tigers fan get to watch an enormously talented and entertaining hitter. Many of his at bats become a battle over the low outside corner that you can’t take your eyes off of. Opposing pitchers cant help but attack him there and he covers that spot so well. I’ll miss that the most.

    • unlost1 - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:45 PM

      here’s the worst i heard of:
      Pitcher Wayne Garland: Indians, 10 years, $2.3 million

      Full free agency was in its first winter when Garland left Baltimore after a 20-win season in 1976. Teams were still figuring out which economic strategies worked best. The Indians tried a long-term path with Garland at a relatively low annual cost. It might have worked with a better pitcher. Garland was a one-season wonder who led the American League in losses in his first year in Cleveland and never exceeded six wins after that. He was released halfway through the deal.

  2. uyf1950 - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Well as P.T. Barnum said “There’s a sucker born every minute” and Boras found his in the Tigers ownership with this deal.

    • natstowngreg - Jan 24, 2012 at 7:16 PM

      On behalf of the Washington Nationals, I’m accepting apologies from those who assumed that they would be the suckers.

      BTW, does this make the Tigers the Mystery Team?

      Imitating a broken record, I’ve said that the Nats signing Fielder would be OK, but not at his price. I’m pleased that the Nats didn’t pay the 9/$214 million.

  3. Ben - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    While I agree that the deal is nuts, the marginal wins that move you from probable division winner to near-lock are pretty valuable in terms of revenue and reward for the team. Their playoff odds just got a whole lot better.
    But, they probably could have spent the money a bit better. Ok, a whole lot better.

  4. scoregasmic - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Just wait haters…just wait

    • paperlions - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:45 PM

      Just wait in denialers….just wait.

  5. texasdawg - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    This contract is a giant step backwards for the city of Detroit.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      Detroit’s problems aren’t heavily engaged in their baseball team.

  6. normcash - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    LOL…you sound like a Red Sox/ Yankees/Angels/Rangers fan—or a Brewers fan!
    For a 27-year old hitter, this is a good contract, especially in the DH league. As for the roster,
    as someone once said, “Hurt me with that problem!”

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:55 PM

      You’re not the one writing the checks for the next nine seasons. That will probably sting a little after, say, 2015.

    • paperlions - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:46 PM

      Paying a guy that is clearly not a top 5 player (and never has been, ever), money like he is…and doing it for many years past his prime is the very definition of a bad contract.

  7. frankvzappa - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    See, this all makes perfect sense if you realize that the world is, in fact, going to end in December, as the Tigers obviously must. One good year with Fielder while Martinez is out, they make a good run at a championship, and then BOOM!, world over. Who cares what the contract says for the 8 years after this one?

  8. hep3 - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Aging owner who can’t take the money with him…….

  9. whittle79 - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    I am jacked !! Fielder an Cabrera are now the best righty lefty in any line up in base ball !!

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 25, 2012 at 8:36 AM

      Better than Braun and Fielder were last year?

      • deanmoriarity - Jan 25, 2012 at 9:42 AM

        You cant seriously doubt that Cabrera is a better hitter than Braun.

  10. superpriebe - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    In a post on January 11 (“There’s “a 99 percent chance” that the Nationals won’t sign Prince Fielder? Really?”…linked below), many comments were saying how crazy and unsuccessful Boras’ strategy was, and how Prince was bound for a lousy deal.

    I wrote: “A lot has been made about how there is not much of a market for Prince. However, I think we’re going to see him get paid impressively. Rumors of the Boras demise are being exaggerated.”

    Just wanted to gloat a bit.

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/01/11/theres-a-99-percent-chance-that-the-nationals-wont-sign-prince-fielder-really/

    • APBA Guy - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:12 PM

      Hard to get thumbs up love with any positive Boras reference, but he absolutely did his job for his client.

  11. cur68 - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    This season, this pays. Next season, there’s a problem unless they unload VMart for pitching. If I’m a Tigers fan, I’m happy. This move has possibilities and implications.

    • paperlions - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:49 PM

      The ONLY way to unload VMart is if they eat 1/2 his salary…..many thought that was a horrible signing when it happened (dollars were fine…but too many years for an old DH acting like he can still catch some).

    • rambodiaz - Jan 24, 2012 at 8:13 PM

      Doesn’t it seem like every offseason we have this discussion about this-team or that-team needing a DH? Illitch is just stocking up on the new market inefficiency, the DH.

      Well, maybe not, but it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch to see the Tigers swapping a VMart somewhere down the road, especially if he’s productive. Yeah, the Tigers will have to pay something to unload him.

      If nothing else, it should be fun to watch unfold. And you know what? Good for Illitch. Maybe I’m just fed up with the Pirates not being willing to spend a little extra here and there, but it makes me happy to see an owner really understand that sometimes you have to spend to win.

      • cur68 - Jan 25, 2012 at 12:34 AM

        This.

  12. ireportyoudecide - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    There is no salary cap in baseball, therefore if you have an onwer who doesn’t mind spending the money it really doesn’t matter how much it’s costing when he is 36 years old. Which is why a salary cap prevents this type of contract and why the players love the current deal.

    • Ari Collins - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:43 PM

      There’s no salary cap, but there is only so much money for players. That’s why it matters. Detroit may have trouble extending Verlander now, or going after free agents in future offseasons.

      What’s more, the luxury tax serves as an effective cap to every team but the Yankees.

      Otherwise, your reporting is on-target?

      • uyf1950 - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:19 PM

        Ari, come on. The luxury tax serves as an effective cap to every team but the Yankees. Come 2014 the luxury tax rises to $189MM for the 2011 season. The team with the 4th highest payroll in the ML’s was the Angels at $138MM that’s $50MM less then what the tax threshold will be in 2 years.

        The only 2 teams that the tax seems to effect is the Red Sox and possibly the Phillies. And yes it does effect the Yankees in addition to those 2, maybe not the way you think but it does. If not for the Yankees having to pay X amount of millions of dollars every year the Yankees would be spending more on players then they do.

        You know what’s an effective cap for virtually all the teams. It’s the greed of their owners. You don’t think that John Henry can afford a higher payroll then they presently have. The same applies to the Cubs owner or the Cardinals owner or most every one of the other owners. And almost without exception none of those owners team will even sniff the $189MM luxury tax threshold in 2014.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 24, 2012 at 7:31 PM

        Three or four teams pass the luxury tax threshold every year, but only one of them goes well beyond it. I’d say that’s pretty good evidence it works.

        I have a theory that the only limit to the Yankees’ spending is how many roster spots they can spend money on. And how many players are available.

      • cmutimmah - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:07 PM

        Don’t forget that Tax is just going to keep raising, bad contracts like Inge, Guillen and others will be completely off the books, and just like other teams Detroit will need to get young in spots (including pitching). I can’t see them not paying Verlander, Cabby, and Fister going forward… maybe even Avila also, since a good lefty hitting catcher is rare… If they can keep all those guys signed under 100 million (Miggy 20, Fielder 22, Verlander 22, Fister 15, Avila 8-10), they’ll have plenty of untaxed salary space to sign the rest of the squad. Delmon Young, Peralta, Scherzer, Porcello, A Jax, etc… are all interchangable pieces.

  13. Ari Collins - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Pretty amazingly bad fit for them. He improves them by a few wins for ONE year, and it’s debatable whether he improves them for ’13 and ’14, considering he’ll make V-Mart entirely redundant. And four years from now, how productive will he be as a DH?

    I’m not one to bash big free agent contracts. Usually the surplus value at the beginning of the deal makes up for the decline towards the end. In this case, I don’t see all THAT much surplus value at the beginning, due to the simply terrible fit Fielder is for the Tigers.

    • chibimike - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:13 PM

      Cabrera replaces Inge who in 2011 batted 197 3HR 23RBI.

      • somekat - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:28 PM

        Cabrera and Fielder on the corners would be the worst defensive corner infield that I can remember. They would have to rebuild the rest of the team completely over the next 2 years to compensate for it. Unless you are willing to just accept that 50% of ground balls are going to be hits (60 % of the league could bunt down the line for an automatic hit)

        For the record, I don’t think the deal is THAT bad. Too much, obviously. If someone else was willing to pay this much, he’d of been signed a week after Puljos. But sometimes you have to overpay for premium talent, not every team has the advantage of having guys willing to come there for a discount. Some teams have to pay extra for them to be willing to go there

      • chibimike - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:40 PM

        You haven’t watched Cabrera play much if you say that. He has more range than people think. He was tied for 8th last year in 1B range.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:58 PM

        He has more range than people think. He was tied for 8th last year in 1B range.

        You should look up how ESPN calculates range factor. It has nothing to do with watching a person play to gauge their range. It’s merely a calculation of Put Outs and Assists.

      • drewsylvania - Jan 24, 2012 at 7:02 PM

        Cabrera hits a huge amount better than Inge. He’s also probably a huge amount worse than Inge as a fielder. The last time he played 3B was 14 games in 2008.

    • deanmoriarity - Jan 25, 2012 at 9:44 AM

      In 4 years, he will be turning 32. As a DH. He will certainly still be productive, and it’s ridiculous to think that he wont. After all, he’s missed ONE game in the last 3 seasons. ONE.

  14. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Victor Martinez will end up at least a partial salary dump. Crazy.

  15. tomfroemming - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    So the worst-case scanrio is Detroit will need to unload Miggy or, more likely, V-Mart before the start of next year? Sounds like a good problem to have. I wonder if they could work out a deal where Scott Boras would negotiate the trade. Could probably get them Kershaw and $10 mil in return.

  16. roycethebaseballhack - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    While I agree the dollars are crazy high on this, don’t rule out that Detroit might already have a suitor-in-waiting to make a trade for Cabrera. Like, maybe the Rangers, who have a few dudes they’ll be happy to trade and might just appeal to them. While Fielder-grade salary made them nervous, Cabrera-grade salary might be able to work. Of course, Miguel might just slide across the infield, work out great, and it’s a big, happy ending. Keep in mind what kept them from taking the AL Pennant last year, and it wasn’t much, really. Maybe they’re just trying to take it to, ’11’. The Tigers are a pretty well run organization. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt on this until all the hot stove dust settles.

    • Ben - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:08 PM

      This doesn’t make sense. Why would the Tigers trade Cabrera? They’re contending now. And Cabrera only makes a few million less than Fielder. Few years, certainly, but if the Rangers wanted a 1B they’d just sign Fielder.

      • roycethebaseballhack - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:43 PM

        It actually makes all kinds of sense, in the context of The Rangers.
        1) The Rangers already have two or three guys they are anxious to trade. Just signing Fielder makes that situation more dire, since they just picked up Darvish. Trading one, or two of those guys for an MVP-grade player makes tons of sense. And a handful of millions each year may be exactly what kept them from pulling the trigger on Fielder in the first place. Or, perhaps it’s the guy’s weight and the long-term unknown effects of that, which many people have pointed out. Personally, I wish they’d signed him, but Daniels, et al., aren’t talking as to why they didn’t. Even with the impending contract increases for Hamilton, Kinsler and several others, I’m not convinced it was all about money. It might be, but for every multi-millionaire on The Rangers ownership roster, there’s two more standing in the wings and eager to jump in and shovel money at them if asked. Nolan has access to plenty of cash.
        2) First Base has been a big problem for them since Texiera left. It’s been an endless parade of, ‘Let’s Try This Guy’ for four years. The addition of Cabrera would have their entire infield nailed down nicely and solve a lot of problems.

    • deanmoriarity - Jan 25, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      Why would they trade Cabrera rather than Prince? Cabrera is a better hitter, cheaper, and only slightly older.

  17. mvp43 - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    NL Central just got a whole lot easier……………

    With Poo-hole & Fielder gone, pitchers are smiling.

    • roycethebaseballhack - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:58 PM

      Yeah, but The Astros are leaving. For every Ying, there’s a Yang.

  18. hoopmatch - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    I suspect one of the reasons that teams spend big on players such as Fielder is that he can be used by the marketing department to bring fans to the games. If the team makes $20 million a season more because Fielder is on the field, it can easily afford him. And in this case, a lot of Tigers fans will remember Fielder’s dad Cecil playing there.

    • paperlions - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:51 PM

      Good marketing = winning baseball games

      Everything else is just noise.

      • rambodiaz - Jan 24, 2012 at 8:14 PM

        A-freakin’-men.

    • Ari Collins - Jan 24, 2012 at 7:34 PM

      That’s true of anyone, though. They would have brought in lots of fans with Reyes and Wilson, for less money and better performance.

      Field a good team and they will come.

  19. chibimike - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    So much comment from so many clueless people. Let’s sort it out:

    2012:
    Fielder 1B
    Cabrera 3B & DH
    Vmart is on IR

    After 2012:
    Fielder 1B
    Cabrera 3B
    Vmart DH

    So in the end we have Cabrera as a replacement for Inge with this signing. We lose some range at 3B and add about 5 more errors per year.

    As to comments about bad fielding 1st basemen. Fielder had about 10 more errors than the good fielding 1B. Spread that over a season and we have 1 more error every 16 games in exchange for 13 RBI every 16 games. I think we can absorb that.

    • Ari Collins - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:12 PM

      Errors are a terrible measurement. And Cabrera is a below-average 1B; he’d be a really really bad 3B. There is no way Detroit could stomach putting him at 3rd.

      • chibimike - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:16 PM

        So what measurement do you use besides errors?

        Cabrera’s range is average for a 1B and he had about 6 or so more errors than average. Really not much of a problem.

        He used to play third before coming to Detroit.

      • somekat - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:32 PM

        If you can’t get to a ball, it’s not an error. If you can’t get to it because you are slow (either in movement, reaction, or both) it’s still not an error. Not sure why you can’t grasp why just using error is a terrible measurement.

        As I said in the post above, Fielder at 1st, Cabrera at 3rd would be the worst corner in field combination that I can remember (I’m in my mid 30’s). They would need top 3 defenders at SS and 2B just to be below average

      • chibimike - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:36 PM

        According to ESPN Cabrera was tied for 8th best range factor at 1B. Fielder was 16th. Not bottom of the barrel in any way.

      • chibimike - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:38 PM

        The last year Cabrera played 3rd (2007) he was ranked 14th in range factor in the majors at 3B. Again not terrible.

      • paperlions - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:56 PM

        Cabrera was always a horrible 3B, and he has been a bad 1B. He is slow, with below average range that makes more errors than your average 1B. He has never had a single season in the IF with a positive DRS, and his UZR has rarely crept above 0. He is bad with the glove, and saying he isn’t won’t change that…..the Tigers know it, they plan on DHing him next year apparently….though Fielder is one of the few 1B that is actually worse in the field than Cabrera.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:57 PM

        According to ESPN Cabrera was tied for 8th best range factor at 1B. Fielder was 16th. Not bottom of the barrel in any way.

        UZR since ’06
        Fielder: -9.4, -7.2, -9.2, 1.7, -7.4, -5.1
        Cabrera: -3.4, -4.2, -8.1, 3.5, -6.2, -3.8

        Combined:
        Fielder: -6.4/150
        Cabrera: -11.2/150

        2011 UZR
        Fielder: -5.1 (18/21)
        Cabrera: -3.8 (16/21)

        2010 UZR
        Fielder: -7.4 (19/22)
        Cabrera: -6.2 (17/22)

        2009 UZR
        Fielder: 1.7 (10/20)
        Cabrera: 3.5 (5/20)

        So one year out of 3 Fielder is half as good as the rest of MLB, except that was his only positive year and he’s trending worse after it. Same with Cabrera.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 24, 2012 at 7:40 PM

        Errors and range factor are terrible statistics. People who actually watch the game (scouts and UZR) agree that Cabrera is a bad first basemen. Not horrible, no. But well below average. His defense would be worse at 3B.

        As another data point, the last time he played 3B, he was pretty poor at it. That was many years and 40 pounds ago.

    • purpleisreallypinkyouknow - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:16 AM

      As a Brewer season ticket holder that’s watched Fielder from close range for quite a few years…I expect you to log back on at year’s end and tell us how well Prince’s fielding attributes were come season’s end.

      It’s not all about the errors, it’s also about making plays on balls that may be hits and turning them into outs or holding runners from scoring or scoring position. Compare someone like Pujols to Fielder in the leather department and you see why it took so long for someone to hook Prince to this kind of deal. He will be a very expensive full time DH before long and will start taking the heat like Papi in beantown when he hits a rut. Every year his cold streak or slow start like last year has gone longer and longer…I’d expect that trend to continue.

      I wish him and your Tigers all the best, but when he hits 30 or 31 years old and is so big he can barely get out of his own way…the love will not be there. This guys has ballooned in weight over the last 6 years here in Milwaukee, and if he can’t get the weight off now, he sure as heck isn’t going to do it when he starts getting into his 30’s.

  20. delsj - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Wondering how Ryan Madson is feeling right now when wonderboy got Werth and Fielder almost a quarter of a billion dollars, but could only get him a one-year deal.

    • delsj - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:18 PM

      Sorry, meant over not almost.

  21. detroitcityryda - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Tigs wont trade cabrera to save money ,Mike Ilitch don’t care about 215$ million hes 5$ dollar always ready pizza is selling very well since recession hit .He wants a world series just like all of us in Detroit do.

  22. tashkalucy - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    Silly comments.

    There was an outcry after the Magglio Ordonez contract which was far worse. The Tigers came out of that one with a World Championship and years of contention. I don’t recall them having to strip the team down.

    Sports writers know little about finance. And this one seem to think he’s 14 years-old and talking in his friends parents basement rec room about MLB players, coaches, FO people, agents – as if they’re little kids flipping baseball cards. These are professional people. To keep up, one has to learn and respect the sport, instead of thinking they’re reading scores on ESPN and cracking jokes.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 24, 2012 at 7:00 PM

      one has to learn and respect the sport

      Coming from you this is hilarious. At least you aren’t writing your usual trope of how the Red Sox and Yanks are destroying the sport and will be irrelevant in a few years.

    • Ari Collins - Jan 24, 2012 at 7:42 PM

      So… your argument is that the Magglio Ordonez contract didn’t prevent them from winning a championship, so it was good? And that the owners know best?

    • rambodiaz - Jan 24, 2012 at 8:16 PM

      There was an outcry after the Magglio Ordonez contract which was far worse. The Tigers came out of that one with a World Championship and years of contention. I don’t recall them having to strip the team down.

      Wait. What? Magglio played on the ’84 team? He’d have been, like, 10 or something.

  23. takingbovadasmoney - Jan 24, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Martinez has to be around 35. Who says he will ever play again and if so play at a good level. Good move by Detroit.

  24. jpeterson4743 - Jan 24, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    One: Just from watching games one can see that Miguel Cabrera has improved defensively every year since he has joined the tigers. You can throw out sabermetric stats but hell just look at the New York Giants defense…no one can say they are bad, but STATISTICALLY they are. While Cabrera is not an ideal fit at third (and I admit will be in the bottom 20% of 3rd base fielders) look at who the tigers have playing third base right now. Brandon Inge the last four seasons has hit .205, .230, .247, .197. Also the last four season he has accumulated errors at an outstanding rate, Inge has range, but can not throw. The defensive drop-off between Cabrera at third and Inge at third is not as great as the batting difference between the two (Cabrera being a MVP candidate every year), and really its not even close. I guarantee you if you go to ANY major league team and tell them they can have Miguel Cabrera as their third basemen about all but 2 are taking him. However this is not even a concern this
    season as one of the two (Fielder and Cabrera) can DH. When Martinez comes back you are basically taking Brandon Inge/Don Kelly out of the line up and putting in an all star caliber hitter.
    Two: If you want to look at the figures that fielder signed for – 9 years 214 million – or roughly 24 million dollars a year. They seem high yes, but you get what you pay for. Not only does Fielder have legitimate left-hand power (which tiger fans have wanted for years) he gets on base a TON. Does anyone here think he is going to draw less walks hitting ahead of Miguel Cabrera? I don’t think so. Prince Fielder is not Vernon Wells and he is not Mike Hampton. The Tigers may of overpaid for him but only in terms of the years he is getting. Alot can happen in nine years I admit that but look at some personal motivators for Prince. While this is speculation I will start with a known fact. Cecil Fielder was an icon in Detroit. Fact #2 Prince does not like Cecil. While this is probably the reason the Tigers had to give him 9 years instead of 7, it can also be viewed as a positive. Prince Fielder is not going to come here and under-perform to a crowd that loves the dad that he dislikes, Prince is a professional and a man. He now has the chance to erase his dads memory from the Tigers fan-base. Again that is all speculation, he could be a slouch and gain 50 pounds BUT he didn’t do it with the Brewers so why would he now when he has a real chance to win.
    Three: With Miguel Cabrera at third and Prince at first i challenge anyone to give me a better 1st & 3rd hitting combination. Someone give me a better 3 and 4 hitter combination, or a better lefty-righty hitting combination
    Jackson-Bosch-Prince-Cabarera-Martinez-Young-Peralta-Avila-Santiago/Rayburn = dominant for at least 3 years.

  25. godfatherd - Jan 24, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    We all know the contract is insane. I’m a Tigers fan and I know that Fielder isn’t worth that kind of money. I don’t think anyone else would have paid him that much. But people are ignoring one simple fact. Mike Illitch is 82 years old and he wants to win now, while he still has the chance to see it. You can’t take it with you so why not spend it.

    This year they will play fielder and miggy at 1st and DH, but don’t be surprised if they end up working in miggy at 3rd over the course of the season. In hind sight they should have just paid Jose Reyes, but you cant go back so we will just have two of the best slugging corner infielders in the AL instead.

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