Prince goes to Detroit for a king's ransom
Philadelphia, PA – Say what you want about super agent Scott Boras, but in the end he always gets his man his money.
The latest example came on Tuesday when Prince Fielder, who some suggested over the weekend may have to settle for a one-year deal, agreed to a monster nine-year, $214 million deal with the Detroit Tigers, a team never mentioned in any kind of talks for the slugger, but one that was always close to his heart.
Detroit, of course, was home for six-plus years to Prince's father Cecil, who swatted 51 home runs for the Tigers in 1990. As a kid, Prince actually hit the ball out of Tiger Stadium when, according to most, father and son were inseparable.
The relationship between the two has soured since and some had even speculated this offseason that the younger Fielder wouldn't even entertain offers from any team his father once played for.
Nine-figure contracts, though, change a lot of people's minds and mend a lot of relationships. The deal is actually the most expensive handed out this late in the process, plus the fourth richest in baseball history behind Alex Rodriguez' two deals and the one Albert Pujols signed earlier this offseason.
Give credit to Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski and owner Mike Illitch for being so aggressive in the pursuit of Prince Fielder following the devastating news last week that designated hitter Victor Martinez would be lost for the season with a torn ACL.
Also never invite Dombrowski to your poker game. Just last week at the team's winter caravan after the Martinez news broke Dombrowski said Fielder was "probably not a good fit".
Washington had been rumored to be the front runner all along with teams like Texas and Seattle lurking, but in the end it was a team out of nowhere that emerged, similar to the way Philadelphia plucked Cliff Lee last offseason.
Fielder was terrific this past season for the National League Central champion Milwaukee Brewers, belting 38 home runs with 120 RBI. He's also never hurt. Last year he was the only player in the majors to play in all 162 games and despite his bulky presence, he has averaged 160 games in his six full seasons in the league.
It also creates a nice little dilemma for Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who now must decide who to pencil in at first base, Fielder or Miguel Cabrera.
How many managers wouldn't mind losing sleep over that little quandary, huh?
Leyland could also toy with the idea of moving Cabrera back across the diamond to third base, but he wasn't exactly Brooks Robinson when he played there for the Marlins and may actually be a bit to bulky to handle it these days anyway.
Either way they will both be in the lineup every day, meaning teams in the American League Central should probably be thanking their lucky stars that there is an extra wild card team this season.