Tigers roar with Fielder deal
Looks like I’ll have to eat my own words that Prince Fielder was going to be a Washington Nationals. I was so far off, I didn’t even guess the right league as the Detroit Tigers swooped in — completely out of left field — to sign the free agent first baseman to a nine-year, $24 million contract Tuesday afternoon.
Fielder and the Tigers shocked the baseball world by coming to terms to the fourth largest contract in MLB history. The historic deal also proved that Fielder won’t be settling after teams like the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals persuaded him heavily, but didn’t dish out the dough quite like Detroit. It seemed and was reported that Washington was the front runner, offering the 27-year-old a deal a little less lucrative than the one he landed. But instead, the former Milwaukee Brewer will be in the motor city — where his father shined for seven year — until he is 36. Here is how this blockbuster move could upstage Albert Pujols‘ deal and how it makes the Tigers quite possibly the best team in the American League.
• Middle of the lineup terror: Imagine slugger Victor Martinez in the same lineup as Fielder and power hitter Miguel Cabrera. The three combined to belt 80 homeruns and a jaw-dropping 328 RBIs while hitting a combined batting average of at least .317. Unfortunately the Tigers won’t have Martinez, but if Delmon Young and Jhonny Peralta play at the same level they did last season this summer, Detroit will be a dangerous threat to win the World Series.
• Franchise first baseman: This signing was brilliant because the Tigers have a lethal amount of young talent at the MLB level, waiting to break through and possibly shine alongside Fielder. Leadoff man Austin Jackson and all-star catcher Alex Avila are only 25 years old while right fielder Don Kelley, 31, and second baseman Ryan Raburn, 30, are both just entering their prime. With Fielder’s deal keeping the big man in the motor city until he is 36 years old.
• In comparison: Does the sining of Fielder make him and Cabrera the most dangerous duo in baseball? You better believe it. Pujols can’t be in the argument because he won’t have a Matt Holliday type of player in the lineup anymore; Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are injury prone; and Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixera don’t compare because A-Rod is on a major decline. That leaves just Fielder and Cabrera as the scariest two hitters in the middle of the lineup for any pitcher to face.