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Prince Fielder Moving Back to Detroit
With the signing of former Brewer Prince Fielder, the Detroit Tigers have made the first baseman one of the leagues highest paid players. This signing will mark the fourth ever $200 million contract in Major League Baseball history. The other three contracts have been Alex Rodriguez (twice: Rangers and Yankees) and more recently, Albert Pujols(Angels).
At the beginning of free agency, super agent Scott Boras said he was seeking a $200 million contract for Prince. A deal such as that for Fielder was certainly suspect. Give Boras credit. He waited and got the deal he was seeking for a player that certainly deserved the payday he clearly wanted.
If the reports were true and Fielder turned down a 6 year $120 million offer from the Brewers, then he chose wisely. Prince is now the fifth highest paid player in the league on an annual basis. Ahead of him are Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees, Albert Pujols of the Angels and teammates Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee of the Phillies.
One can certainly make the case that this is way too much money for someone that may strictly be a DH in a few years, but I would argue the opposite. Not many baseball players can stay healthy for an entire season and even if they are healthy, not all play in every single game. Prince is pretty close. In the past six seasons he's averaged 160 games played per year, playing in all 162 games two times in those six seasons.
Prince's production for Milwaukee will be hard to replace, yet a very nice addition for Detroit. In those 6 seasons he averaged 38 HRs, 107 RBI and a .932 OPS(on base% plus slugging%).
The production that Detroit is getting and the iron man mentality that Prince brings to this ballclub will very much be worth it to a team that will contend annually in the AL Central. The Tigers won their division by 15 games last year. The have the AL MVP and AL Cy Young winner in Justin Verlander. They have one of the best hitters in the AL in Miguel Cabrera and when they get Victor Martinez back in 2013 the Tigers will indeed have one of the best 3-4-5 hitters in all of baseball.
If fans think this move was excessive, they could be right. I do not. Fielder is one of the best young sluggers in the game and with a short porch in right-field(330ft) at Comerica Park, Prince could easily be slotted in for 40 HRs every year for the next 9 years. (Miller Park is 346 feet down the right-field line and he averaged 38 HRs.)
It will not be easy for opposing pitchers to cope with Carera and Fielder protecting each other. This move makes sense for both the Tigers and Fielder. Prince moves back to a place he is familiar with and got the long term deal his agent told everyone he would get. The last time Prince was living in Detroit, he was hitting shots out of old Tiger Stadium when he was 12 years old. Now he is 27 and he'll be launching them out to the delight of many Tiger fans at new Comerica Park.