The Tigers agreed to sign Prince Fielder to the biggest contract in franchise history and the fourth biggest in MLB history less than 24 hours ago, so there’s lots of Tigers chatter today. Here are the latest links…
- Some ‘MLB bigs’ say the Fielder contract is too long and for too much money, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. The first baseman agreed to a nine-year, $214MM deal.
- One rival general manager says Fielder has elite makeup, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets. “He's great that way," the GM said.
- People in baseball aren’t sure if the Fielder signing takes the Tigers out of the running for Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweets. Cespedes has gained residency in the Dominican Republic, but he's not yet a free agent.
- Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch joined Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on MLB Network Radio and said he's eargerly awaiting hitting in the same lineup as Fielder. Boesch added that he had no idea Fielder was joining the Tigers.
- Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer told John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press that "[his] phone has blown up talking about [the news]. It is Christmas come late."
- Here are some more reactions to the Fielder deal.
Boesch wears 26. I don’t think anyone has worn 28 since Granderson was traded.
Edit: I lied. Rhymes wore 28. But he’s no longer in the organization.
It all makes sense now. They non-tendered Rhymes because he wouldn’t give up his number for Fielder!
Fielder may be able to the hit the ball a mile and be a master of choreography, but nobody can rhyme like Will Rhymes…
Will Rhymes with what?
It’s like going to a car dealership and offering to pay sticker price…times two.
Not your money, what do you care?
Yeah right get ready for higher prices for tickets, hot dogs, popcorn, beer, etc
they let you bring in your own food.
nobody forces you to eat or drink at the game.
That’s what she said.
East Coast Bias
I don’t think the Fielder deal is too long. I know it’s 9 years, but hear me out…
Prince is only 27 (28 during the 2012 season) right now. Signing 9 years puts him at 36/37 when the deal expires. In comparison, ARod will be 42 when his deal is up. Look at Pujols, he’s 32 now, and in ten years when his contract expires, he will be 42 as well.
Tigers are getting Prince’s prime years, and just a few of his declining years. I can see him putting up White Sox Jim Thome numbers during his last 3 seasons, and flat out beasting the first 4-6 years. Also, he’s been durable, despite what people say about his weight. And if you’re worried he won’t age well, which is the general consensus, it’s still okay because Tigers will only have 3 years of “decline” years from 35-37.
Prince may even score a few one year DH deals, a la Thome, after this contract expires. He’s only 28, folks!!
Fielder’s contract is one that I’m having trouble speculating on the future. As you say, Pujols signed a contract where odds are he’ll be seriously declining halfway through and ARod is already seriously declining at less than halfway through. However neither were as young as Fielder. But Fielder also has his size and family history working against him…
That said we get back to your original point, Fielder turns 28 a month into the first season of his 9 year deal. So accepting all else being equal and even if we assume a conservative estimate of him peaking at age 32, that’s 5 years of a power hitter in his prime and 4 more years where he’ll still be close to his peak.
Barring a freak injury, I’m on the side where I doubt the Tigers will regret this contract overall. If it gets them a World Series ring, then it’ll even be more than worth it.
Can prince keep his weight down ??????
Well, The NL has gotten a lot less interesting to watch this offseason.
The playing field has evened out significantly in the NL Central, so I would imagine that’s going to be a division to watch.
I was wondering why I paid $17 for my Hot’N’Ready today
For a second forget about weight and how Prince looks, and just focus on age and his ability to walk and not strike out.
Fielder is 27 years old. Carl Crawford was 29 when he signed his deal, Jayson Werth was 31, Alfonso Soriano was 30.
Everyone assumes that 3 years into his deal he’ll start to break down. If Fielder had signed a 6 year/$154 million dollar deal when he was 30 there would be the same discussion that by the time he reaches 33 he’ll start breaking down. They said the same thing about Crawford, Werth, Soriano, Johan, every other elite free agent that’s 30 or over. Prince is 27, much younger than the average elite free agent.
In my opinion, his age makes all the difference. He’s just entering his prime, and the Tigers should enjoy about 5 or 6 years of elite production barring injury. Pundits said that the end of the Miguel Cabrera’s contract would bite the Tigers as well, but buying an elite players 20’s is worth it’s weight in gold. The tradition baseball aging curve doesn’t kick in until 31 or 32 normally.
Finally Prince Fielder does not equal Mo Vaughn. It’s a lazy comparison because they’re both fat and black and hit for power. Fielder walks more and strikes out less and is a great contact hitter. Mo Vaughn was a raw power fastball hitter that struck out a lot. Prince’s skill set will age much better than Vaughn.
Cabrera is only 28 and is only under contract for 4 more seasons. I doubt the back end of his deal is going to be ugly, in fact I bet it will probably end up ranking as one of the top 100mm+ contracts of all time
Besides, there’s really nothing wrong with being compared to a guy with a .293/.383/.523 career line anyways.
Atleast from age 23-27(Vaughn didn’t reach the majors until age 23), I think the Vaughn-Fielder comparison might be a little closer than you let on. As you said, Fielder’s willingness to take a walk is the only stat that really jumps out between them.
Vaughn: .285/.361/.439, 21 PA/HR, 4.7 PA/K, 8.6 PA/BB
Fielder: .285/.380/.458, 22 PA/HR, 5.5 PA/K, 6.9 PA/BB