When Victor Martinez went down last week with a torn ACL during an off-season workout, it was expected the Tigers would need to make a move to replace the hard-hitting catcher/designated hitter. On Tuesday, Detroit reportedly made a substantial move to say the least, by signing three-time all-star free agent Prince Fielder.
The deal is reportedly worth $214 million over 9 years. Fielder has spent his entire career with the Milwaukee Brewers where he has finished 3rd place in the MVP vote twice. If the deal goes through, Prince will now play for the same team where is father, Cecil, played for seven years and was a three-time all-star.
The news has yet to be confirmed, but word of the transaction was first released by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. MLB.com is reporting that a source told The Associated Press, "There are still some things that need to be worked out."
Already having Miguel Cabrera at first base/DH, the addition of Fielder would arguably give the Tigers the best one-two middle of the order punch in all of baseball. Fielder, 27, has 230 home runs in his six-plus year career and had 38 dingers last year with a .299 average. Cabrera hit 30 home runs for the 5th straight season and led the majors with a .344 average in 2011.
In fact, Detroit is a big surprise destination, and seem to be the ‘mystery’ team some were mentioning. Many were reporting that Washington, Chicago (Cubs), Baltimore and Texas were the only major contenders for the big home run bopper.
Victor Martinez hit 40 doubles and had a .330 average last season, so it’s easy to see how losing one of the best catchers in baseball could leave a gaping hole in a lineup contending for a pennant in 2012. In fact, in an interview last week, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski called the injury "a sock to the gut.”
Spending $214 million isn’t easy, but with Fielder only being 27 years old this could be a move that could play out huge dividends, and home runs, for many years to come.
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