Tigers To Sign Prince Fielder

Prince Fielder, who hit baseballs out of Tiger Stadium as a 12-year-old, is on his way back to Detroit, where his father, Cecil Fielder, starred for seven years. The Tigers have officially agreed to sign the free agent first baseman to a nine-year, $214MM contract.

Prince Fielder MIL

The agreement — the fourth largest in baseball history behind Alex Rodriguez's mega-contracts and Albert Pujols' recent deal with the Angels — will keep Fielder in the Motor City through his age 36 season for an average annual value of $23.78MM. It doesn't include any opt-outs, Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and ESPN.com tweets.

Though the market for Fielder seemed far from robust at times this offseason, agent Scott Boras has found an unexpected suitor once again. Over the years, Tigers owner Mike Ilitch and GM Dave Dombrowski have dealt extensively with Boras regarding clients such as Kenny Rogers, Ivan Rodriguez, Johnny Damon and Magglio Ordonez.

Fielder will play first base and Miguel Cabrera will change roles, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Victor Martinez will miss most or all of the 2012 season with a torn ACL, so it's possible that Cabrera will DH this year. He has only played 14 games at third base since being traded to Detroit after the 2007 season, but a return to the hot corner seems to be a possibility for Cabrera. 

Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com suggests a return to third base is likely for Cabrera and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hears that Cabrera was "really excited" about the Tigers' new addition (Twitter links).

Fielder's considered a below average defender at first base, but he's a force at the plate. He posted a .299/.415/.566 line with 38 home runs in 2011, finishing in the top five in MVP balloting for the third time in the past five seasons. He has a .282/.390/.540 line in seven seasons in Milwaukee, where he averaged 37 home runs per 162 games played. Concerns about Fielder's stocky physique do exist, but Boras defended his client's build at the December Winter Meetings.

“Everyone talks to me about Prince’s body, but when you have that 5’11” strike zone, that is a huge advantage and that’s why that on-base percentage is sitting there," he said. "Those pitchers have to put the ball into a smaller window and I believe that it’s more difficult to do.”

This June the Tigers will surrender their first round pick (27th overall) to the Brewers, who offered Fielder arbitration earlier in the offseason. Milwaukee will also obtain a second compensatory pick for losing Fielder, the seventh overall selection in the 2002 draft. Fielder is among the Brewers' all-time leaders in many offensive categories, including home runs (230), on-base percentage (.390), sluggling percentage (.540) and walks (566).

Cecil Fielder, whose off-and-on relationship with his son has been well-documented, hit 245 home runs in a Tigers uniform, good for fifth on the franchise's all-time list. The elder Fielder led the American League in home runs in 1990 with 51 and in 1991 with 44.

When MLBTR polled readers in mid-December, just 5.6% of 27,000 respondents expected Fielder to sign a nine or ten-year deal. He ranked second on MLBTR's list of top free agents this offseason, trailing only Pujols.

The deal figures to provide lots of leverage for Joey Votto, who will hit free agency after the 2013 season if the Reds don't extend him first. On the other hand, free agent designated hitters such as Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Raul Ibanez and Vladimir Guerrero lost a potential suitor this afternoon.

Heyman tweets that the Nationals and a third mystery team were in on Fielder until the end. Heyman first reported the agreement on Twitter and Yahoo's Tim Brown first reported that the sides were close to a deal. 

Photo courtesy Icon SMI.


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660 Comments on "Tigers To Sign Prince Fielder"


vincentjulian
3 years 7 months ago

So done deal? Exact $ figures?

3 years 7 months ago

Didn’t Boras text someone like an hour ago saying no deal in place yet?

(See 2 posts below this one, top bullet point).

xfipMachine
3 years 7 months ago

9-214

BWAHAHHAAHAHHAA

3 years 7 months ago

Their payroll was set to be $17MM less than last season anyway.  Why not spend the extra $7MM haha

3 years 7 months ago

as a fan, not my money, deal may cost me 50-100 more in tickets a yr, but that is chump change, so as a fan i could care less what the wicked rich illitch spends his money on, so it barely affects us fans so why would any one person out there poke fun at the size of the deal?

melonis_rex
3 years 7 months ago

I really want to see if he breaks 200MM. I think he does

Tony DiQuattro
3 years 7 months ago

wow

3 years 7 months ago

This is gonna be a LEGENDARY 3-4 combo of Miggy + Prince.

Tony DiQuattro
3 years 7 months ago

And if VMart comes back strong next year… I just don’t see how a team can decide to bump their payroll up by 20 million for a decade.  They’ve gotta be going after part of VMart’s salary because nobody tears a ligament just “working out”, or they might have a trade/opt out in line in a few years.

notsureifsrs
3 years 7 months ago

the hell is v-mart supposed to play? avila is the catcher

Tyler Jedrzejak
3 years 7 months ago

DH Miggy moving to Third? i think

Tony DiQuattro
3 years 7 months ago

I don’t know, seems like everybody is expecting Miggy to move to 3rd next year, which would make some sense if this is the last year on Inge’s contract and Leyland says he values fielding over range for infielders.

TartanElk
3 years 7 months ago

Victor goes to DH. Prince to 1B, Cabrera to 3B. Just as dumb as it sounds.

3 years 7 months ago

V-Mart was DH.  Only caught occasionally to spell Avila.

3 years 7 months ago

Read somewhere that Tigers had insurance policy on V-Mart’s knees and will recoup most, if not all, of his salary for 2012.

FillyPhan
3 years 7 months ago

Eww 24 million a year. What an albatross.

NYBravosFan10
3 years 7 months ago

more like a blimp

drew campini
3 years 7 months ago

and miguel? dh?

3 years 7 months ago

Back to shortstop, his original position.

strikethree
3 years 7 months ago

They should just have them rotate the infield.

It’ll help out fantasy owners.

Fielder should catch. A nice big target.

inleylandwetrust
3 years 7 months ago

Years and money are absolutely brutal….but i would be shocked if we don’t win a world series sometime soon with this squad. Also…are they thinking of moving Miggy to 3rd next yr when Vmart is back?!

notsureifsrs
3 years 7 months ago

sounds like a big mistake, but a big mistake that will likely look really good for a few years

title or huge embarrassing failure (emphasis on huge)

inleylandwetrust
3 years 7 months ago

100% agree. The fan in me is excited beyond belief, but the rational person in me is sick about the terms. 

notsureifsrs
3 years 7 months ago

i just don’t get it. it’s so reactionary. if you’re the tigers and you’re gonna overspend like this, don’t you need to do it on someone like jose reyes?

a $214M DH. cabrera can’t even play 1st, let alone 3rd

but hey, flags fly forever. you are now officially all-in

Snoochies8
3 years 7 months ago

But but…what the heck are they reacting to? haha

I think this affects avila/martinez (when martinez comes back) the most. do they do a platoon? does victor become the full time catcher? or do they stick with avila when martinez comes back?

notsureifsrs
3 years 7 months ago

martinez’s injury is what i had in mind

the note about cabrera’s position change blows my mind. i can’t imagine putting him anywhere but 1B/DH. not even LF. he’d make delmon young look like ichiro

Snoochies8
3 years 7 months ago

if he plays left, they’re gonna have to shift jackson 30 feet over towards left center.

and yeah, right after i posted i saw the note about cabrera’s “role change” aka positional move, well hey, they don’t really have a second baseman, cabrera should shift over there!

then again, fielder and cabrera on the same side of the infield would make the earth tilt even more

mypoorbuccos
3 years 7 months ago

There were days this past season Ichiro almost looked Delmonesque in the field.

I’ll trust advanced stats more than the eye test, but it seems like Ichiro is slipping big time.

inleylandwetrust
3 years 7 months ago

I wonder what Cabrera’s reaction to this is. According to Heyman, Prince will be the 1st baseman and Miggy will have to DH/play 3rd/plod around in left and will have the inferior deal. 

notsureifsrs
3 years 7 months ago

no way they didn’t check with him first right?

“the good news is, you’re not longer the fattest guy on the team. the bad news is you still need to lose 50 lbs by april”

inleylandwetrust
3 years 7 months ago

I’m actually very worried to how he reacts. According to UZR at least, isn’t Miggy the better defender at 1st than Prince? Or even if they’re equal, you don’t push Miggy off his position.

notsureifsrs
3 years 7 months ago

agree. prince certainly isn’t any better defensively – slightly worse if anything. i have to believe they talked to him about this beforehand, though. contracts be damned, miguel cabrera is still your best player

3 years 7 months ago

They did check with Cabrera first and he happily agreed to go back to third base

$1519287
3 years 7 months ago

Exactly what I was thinking… why didn’t they just overpay Reyes by a mil or two per year? Better fit, position of need, and 2/3 the years.

– ECB

notsureifsrs
3 years 7 months ago

could have had reyes+buehrle or even reyes+wilson for this kind of money

RestoreTheRoar
3 years 7 months ago

Illitch said after last season that he wanted to add another big bat to the lineup, so maybe not entirely reactionary based?

jumpsuitjohnny
3 years 7 months ago

As a Tiger fan, this seems extremely reactionary to losing Vmart for the season. This has albatross contract written all over it. I’m not gonna lie though, this will be pretty awesome seeing the Cabrerra/Fielder combo next year, but damn… this will haunt the Tigers I’m sure down the road.

$1519287
3 years 7 months ago

Don’t be. It’s 9 years, I know. But he’ll be 36 (or 37?) when the contract expires. It’s not like he’s signed into his 40s like A-Rod. Prince has been durable, despite his weight. He’ll still be producing at a high level DHing those last few years from 35 on. There are players older than that still producing right now. He’ll be all right.

– ECB

jwsox
3 years 7 months ago

Over the course of the remainder of thier deals I would put money on a-rod performing better than prince. Insidering a-rod still plays premium defense at a premium position and has been consistent re past few year I bet the rest of his contract looks better and don’t you dare bring up the money. Money does not matter to the Yankees

3 years 7 months ago

I’d take the under on A-Rod.  Worn.  Out. 

Yankees420
3 years 7 months ago

“I bet the rest of his contract looks better and don’t you dare bring up the money.”

What?

Rabbitov
3 years 7 months ago

I won’t bring up the money.  You are wrong here.

strikethree
3 years 7 months ago

Really, shocked if they don’t win a WS?

Boston’s team still looks better to me and they couldn’t even make the playoffs last year. (let’s not even mention the Rangers, Angels, Yankees, or Rays…)

I see them winning the division. (though, that doesn’t say much)

It’s a pretty bad contract that doesn’t significantly increase their odds. I think they could have used the pitching help. (probably not a good idea to lean on Verlander for another 250+ IP)

hardcoreforhardcore
3 years 7 months ago

200 Mil. I don’t get what Dombrowski is thinking.

Casor_Greener
3 years 7 months ago

Probably that he wants to win…

hardcoreforhardcore
3 years 7 months ago

Yeah, that’ll be cool for this year. Then V-Mart comes back and you have a very expensive logjam at 1b/DH. Oh, and don’t forget that whole NINE years at almost 24 mil a year for a fat guy thing.

Casor_Greener
3 years 7 months ago

That whole “fat guy” thing is pretty weak to me.  Even as a DH he can still put up 2.5+ WAR easy the last 3 years of the deal. so he gets overpaid by 10-15 million for a few years, the way inflation is working that might not be much. meanwhile if Miggy can play 3rd base you have a lineup worthy of multiple championships with V-Mart.

I respect the guts, Mike Illitch is a hell of an owner.

hardcoreforhardcore
3 years 7 months ago

I can’t argue that Illitch has balls to go in on this type of contract, but these types of long-term contracts can become very ugly, very fast. I also don’t believe Cabrera is athletic enough to play a large amount of games at third, especially for years to come. I also would like to hear what the next closest offer was, because as of now it sounds like they bid against themselves and gave out a monster contract that most gm’s wouldn’t have touched.

Casor_Greener
3 years 7 months ago

People always cry about these “long term deals” but in reality that’s the price of playing ball.  Every long term deal is a risk and overpay but they still get done.

notsureifsrs
3 years 7 months ago

People always cry about these “long term deals” but in reality that’s the price of playing ball.

amen brother

– andrew friedman, jon daniels, and kevin towers

Casor_Greener
3 years 7 months ago

Didn’t John Daniels just spend 100+ million on  a pitcher who never threw a pitch in MLB, Wasn’t Kevin Towers the GM who signed Peavy to that long term deal (may be wrong)?

Friedman is the one exception, but they don’t have the resources to even make those deals so he’s not a good comparison

notsureifsrs
3 years 7 months ago

he did! and he just got the job in november, too!

nope. he got the job like 7 years ago and took the rangers from the basement to the world series in back to back seasons without a single big ticket signing

towers signed peavy to a 3-year contract extension (and then traded him). but he’s been in arizona for awhile now. took them to the playoffs last year. big contract count: 0

friedman doesn’t have the resources, true. he also doesn’t need them. which is the whole point, you’ll recall

Casor_Greener
3 years 7 months ago

towers has been in Arizona for a while now? hasn’t it been like 1 year

where did I say any team “needs” to sign.  I said that’s the price of playing ball…in respects to picking up major free agents.  

but yeah sucking for 5-7 years in hopes of building a  good farm system is an option too.

RestoreTheRoar
3 years 7 months ago

Illich might be dead by the end of this contract (hope not, but the guys is ancient)

Red_Line_9
3 years 7 months ago

Totally agree about a gutsy move like this for the Tigers.  A national League team making this move would have been crazy though.

Wrek305
3 years 7 months ago

“V-Mart” will likely miss the entire season and be traded for minor league players TBNL

Wrek305
3 years 7 months ago

If he wanted to him he’d have signed with Texas Rangers.

NorthOf49
3 years 7 months ago

These types of moves come straight from the owner, usually. Especially with a single person as owner, not a corporation.

crashcameron
3 years 7 months ago

there’s a Gene Autry thing going on here: spend the inheritance for one last shot. let’s be straight up here: Mr. Ilitch won’t be witnessing the end of this contract

3 years 7 months ago

when in 2013 he has miggy, prince vmart with a jackson leading off he will thinking that he has a very good team

hardcoreforhardcore
3 years 7 months ago

Where are they all going to play? You’re assuming that Cabrera is still capable of playing the hot corner, let alone for years to come. Jackson is not worth discussing until he can find some consistency and cut his strikeouts down a massive amount.

rockfordone
3 years 7 months ago

Look of a Miggy to Florida for Henley R. type deal coming?

3 years 7 months ago

wow

baybombers
3 years 7 months ago

OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! Did anyone see this coming?!

Tony Matias
3 years 7 months ago

Nope.

Snoochies8
3 years 7 months ago

that crazy conspirist wearing the tin foil hat called this move

FunkyTime
3 years 7 months ago

As a Tigers fan I would’ve laughed in anyone’s face that predicted this a few hours ago.

There were no rumors of this anywhere.

Ryan Graywacz
3 years 7 months ago

lol what. This came out two minutes after saying they were close. They were apparently really close.

3 years 7 months ago

Hahahahahahahaha, everybody

Visionsofsilver
3 years 7 months ago

9 years $214 according to Jon Heyman

3 years 7 months ago

Boras is a wizard.  There’s no other explanation.

Tyler Jedrzejak
3 years 7 months ago

He is like the jesus of agents

3 years 7 months ago

Jesus or Lucifer? 

FrankTheFunkasaurusRex
3 years 7 months ago

It’s an agent’s job to make money for his clients. Why compare him to Lucifer?

3 years 7 months ago

Because it’s a jokeeeeeeeeeeeee

gradylittle
3 years 7 months ago

I think an internet forum/message board is the wrong place for you, I see you whining about or shooting down jokes every time you post. 

Tyler Jedrzejak
3 years 7 months ago

Heck man with the magical crap he pulls out of nowhere…he could be both at the same time.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

Meet the Tigers new starting SS. Seriously, where does he go?

bosox7
3 years 7 months ago

lol

stl_cards16
3 years 7 months ago

Wow the Tigers are a legit WS contender. If they add another quality starter, I would even say they’re the favorites.

YankeeNinja
3 years 7 months ago

GREAT…Pujols and Fielder in the AL. KILL ME NOW!

TophersReds
3 years 7 months ago

I don’t know what you’re talking about. Now I barely have to watch them BOTH play against the Reds. Interleague play will be the only time now. :)

jwick18
3 years 7 months ago

dont give heyman credit this was tim brown. dan patrick will will go nuts again if tim gets left out

runaway3124
3 years 7 months ago

So you now have 2 overwheight and unathletic 1B/DH? Interesting.

The_Porcupine
3 years 7 months ago

And where does Martinez play next year?  don’t say Cabrera at 3b or Martinez at catcher, the defense would be beyond disasterous.

Nik
3 years 7 months ago

Um Martinez at DH and cabby at third or in left

tigers22
3 years 7 months ago

Miggy in left? LOL

3 years 7 months ago

Can’t be any worse than Delmon Young

Snoochies8
3 years 7 months ago

if that’s what you think, prepare to be disappointed, i could see cabrera looking like vlad looked in the WS against the giants

rockfordone
3 years 7 months ago

AAA

3 years 7 months ago

You mean Miggy to AA.