Prince Fielder, the biggest name left on the free-agent market, has reportedly agreed to a nine-year/$214M contract with the Detroit Tigers. One week after Victor Martinez tore his ACL and five days after Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski said that Fielder is “probably not a good fit,” the two sides agreed on a pact that will put the slugger in Motown till his age-36 year.
At age 27 and with a nine-year contract, this deal compares favorably to the 10-year deal that the Angels agreed to with 31-year old Albert Pujols earlier this offseason. Detroit’s prolific offense took a hit with the injury to Martinez but now it looks more powerful than ever.
On the negative side, Fielder and Miguel Cabrera were both full-time at 1B last season and neither are especially good with the glove. They can obviously be in the same lineup with one at first and the other at DH. When Martinez returns, probably not till 2013, there will be a logjam of ideal DH-types in the Detroit clubhouse. Cabrera could move to third, where he was once a regular.
Wherever the cards fall, the offensive potential is so high, the defensive situation clearly wasn’t deemed a reason to pass on the chance to sign Fielder. (Eno Sarris of FanGraphs.com has an in-depth look at the three-DH conundrum here). In the meantime, Prince heads back to where his father became a star with a 51-homer year in 1990, and the biggest remaining free-agent is off the board.