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On Thursday, the Detroit Tigers finalized a $214 million, nine-year contract for free agent first baseman, Prince Fielder. Fielder, 27, is now in his prime and joins two of baseball’s biggest stars, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander. “This is awesome,” Fielder said. “It’s kind of a dream come true. I’m excited.” Fielder’s father, Cecil, played for the Detroit Tigers from 1990 to 1996 and hit 51 home runs in 1990. Fielder recalls coming to Tiger Stadium to watch his father play.
There were some questions initially when the deal happened since the Tigers already had a hard-hitting solid first baseman in Miguel Cabrera. However, reports said that as soon as power hitter, Victor Martinez, went down with a torn ligament in his left knee this off-season, the Tigers began pursuing Fielder.
Now with Fielder in the line-up batting fourth and playing first base, Cabrera has moved to third base and will be batting third. This is a solid, power-hitting line-up that is not built on speed. It is a big move and one that will require a lot of off-season training for Cabrera. Cabrera has not played third base since the 2008 season, where he played 14 games at third, making 5 errors during those 14 games.
They are getting offensive power, but Tigers manager, Jim Leyland, said, “Cabrera is not going to have the agility, most likely, defensively that Brandon Inge had. You give up a little something, but you get a whole lot in return.” The Tigers are taking a risk, but Fielder has been durable his entire career and is in for almost a decade in his limited, no-trade provision contract. He can be traded to 10 different teams before the 2017 season without his consent and does not gain the right to block trades until after five years with Detroit.
Detroit won the AL Central last year by a cool 15 games, but lost to the Texas Rangers in the American League Championship Series. They have the power in the line-up, that’s for sure. The biggest issue is seeing if Cabrera can handle the move to third base, while Fielder keeps last year’s league leading errors by a first baseman (15) down.