Free-agent Prince Fielder has reportedly agreed to a nine-year-deal, $214 million with the Detroit Tigers.
It appears that Fielder has agreed to come back to Detroit, as the biggest name left on the free agent market is of course the son the former Tigers star 1B Cecil Fielder. This is a homecoming for Prince, as he spent years running around the old Tiger Stadium clubhouse watching his dad play.
The Tigers had not been considered a candidate in the Fielder sweepstakes, but with Victor Martinez lost for the year with a torn ACL, there is a large hole in the middle of Detroit’s lineup that needs to be addressed. The top remaining teams in the Fielder race dwindled today as the Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals both pulled out of the race for the All-Star first baseman’s services.
While terms of the deal have not been confirmed by the Tigers or Fielder, CBS Sports has reported the deal was agreed to this afternoon and is pending a physical. Prince was looking for a long-term deal for superstar money, which Detroit was not figured to be able to offer.
In regards to replacing Martinez, last week Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski said “Most likely, I would say it’s short term. But I don’t know that for sure. Depends on what position somebody plays and who they are.”
Apparently, the Tigers have made a long-term commitment and add power to a lineup that currently boasts one of the best hitting first baseman in baseball, Miguel Cabrera. However, they do have a vacancy at designated hitter. It remains to be seen where Fielder will play.
Dombrowski did seem to shoot down the possibility that Cabrera could move from first base to third, with another first baseman joining the team, saying “We’re not looking at that as a full-time option.”
Fielder hit .299/.415/.566 with 38 home runs and 120 RBI in 162 games last year for the Milwaukee Brewers. The 27-year-old has been one of the more consistent players in the majors over the past several seasons. In 998 career games, he has amassed a .282 career batting average, 230 home runs and 656 RBIs.