Prince Fielder Signs With the Detroit TigersNews broke this afternoon that the Detroit Tigers and free agent Prince Fielder reached an agreement on a 9-year, $214 million deal to move the slugging first baseman from the National League Central to the American League Central. All of the rumors as of late swirled about the Washington Nationals or Texas Rangers signing Fielder. Honestly, I thought the Milwaukee Brewers would come through with an 11th hour offer to keep Fielder in Miller Park. In recent years, Milwaukee has pulled the trigger on unexpected moves to land high-end free agents. In 2008, the Brewers worked a mid-season deal with the Cleveland Indians to bring CC Sabathia in for a wild card run. Last offseason, they worked a deal to bring former Cy Young Award winner, Zack Greinke, to Milwaukee from the Kansas City Royals.
Fielder played for the Brewers from 2005 through 2011. He appeared in the postseason twice. First for the 2008 NL Wild Card team that lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS. And again in 2011 when the Brewers won the National League Central Division title and advanced to the NLCS only to lose to the eventual World Series champions, the St. Louis Cardinals. During those seven seasons, he hit 230 home runs, drove in 656 runs, compiled a batting average of .282, and an OPS of .929. If you read my blog from a few days ago, that places Fielder in the great category.
The Brewers walk away with nothing in return for Fielder. But their 2011 season complicated matters. Had the Brewers fallen out of the division race, I'm certain Fielder would have been moved prior to the trading deadline. By August, the Brewers clearly had a shot at winning the World Series. They were winning at home, they were hitting, and their pitching was stellar. Unfortunately, that environment is not conducive for trading a fan-favorite slugger.
Earlier this offseason, Albert Pujols jumped ship in St. Louis and headed for greener pastures in Los Angeles. He signed a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Now that Fielder signed a comparable deal with the Tigers, expectations will fall squarely upon him. As a member of the Brewers, he was offered protection from Ryan Braun. Braun would willingly place himself in front of the camera and put the pressure on himself. In Detroit, that attention will be placed upon Fielder thanks to his new contract.
How long until Opening Day?