5:14pm: Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers do have insurance on Fielder’s contract, but it likely won’t save them much in 2014. The policy pays out 50 cents on the dollar for every dollar owed past a certain time period, which is believed to be around 90 days. Grant estimates that the policy will save the Rangers a little north of $2MM this season.
4:48pm: Daniels also informed reporters that Profar has suffered a Grade 2 strain in his arm. While there’s no set timetable for his return, the recovery time is likely 8 to 12 weeks, according to Daniels.
4:40pm: GM Jon Daniels has informed reporters on a conference call that Fielder is scheduled for season-ending surgery next Tuesday. They will seek one final opinion before proceeding with the procedure, but surgery appears to be a near certainty. As Daniels explains, a cervical MRI — which is not part of any standard physical — would’ve been required to catch any such issue with Fielder.
2:49pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Fielder is also undergoing a second MRI today as he looks to determine the best course of action (Twitter link).
2:09pm: Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder is “seriously considering” undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Fielder received a root-nerve injection over the weekend and is meeting with spine specialist Dr. Drew Dossett today instead of traveling to his former home of Comerica Park for the team’s series against the Tigers. While Fielder can hope that the injection provides some relief, it won’t change the fact that the herniated disc is still pinching a portion of the nerve in his neck, causing weakness in his left arm.
Losing Fielder for the season would be another blow to a Rangers team that has been beleaguered by injuries all season. The Rangers opened the season knowing that Derek Holland would miss the first half of the season, and since that time they’ve also seen Martin Perez go down with Tommy John surgery and Matt Harrison re-aggravate a back injury that now appears to be career-threatening. The team is also currently without Jurickson Profar and Geovany Soto — both of whom were expected to be regulars in manager Ron Washington’s lineup.
The Rangers acquired Fielder and $30MM from the Tigers in exchange for Ian Kinsler this winter in what was perhaps the biggest blockbuster of the offseason. Fielder is earning $24MM this season and will be paid the same amount each year through the 2020 campaign, though beginning in the 2016 season, Detroit will begin paying out its $30MM in installments of $6MM per year.
Fielder, acquired to bolster the Rangers’ lineup, has instead batted just .247/.360/.360 in 178 plate appearances. It’s hard to chalk up a major injury for Fielder to anything other than rotten luck for the Rangers, as Fielder had previously missed just one game in the past five seasons. He’d played in 157 games in each of full season of his career prior to this injury.
Should Fielder go down for the season, Mitch Moreland would likely shift back to first base and handle the position on an everyday basis. One has to wonder if a season-ending injury could cause the Rangers to reconsider a run at Kendrys Morales, who, like Fielder, is represented by Scott Boras. That, of course, is purely my own speculation at this point.