There's a subplot to sports that I normally try to steer well clear of and that's the money side of the game. The x's and o's of on the field/court is what draws me and the vast majority of fans and while we understand that these players need to be paid, the amounts are mostly white noise to us. That is, until something comes along that has even people like me saying a very loud and very resounding WTF!
Yesterdays breaking news that former Milwaukee slugger Prince Fielder had signed a 9 year, $214 million dollar contract with the Detroit Tigers was one of those moments.
This contract, the fourth highest MLB has ever given, is very simply, stupid. It's stupid for the amount, for the reasoning, and for the player who frankly doesn't deserve that type of green.
Prince Fielder is baseball's equivalent of a thug, an enforcer. He goes up to the plate and he shanks balls out of the park. That's it. He can't play defense. He can't run. He just knocks balls out of the park and gets on base.
Yes, I understand that it's very, very important to score runs in baseball and there aren't too many that can do it like Fielder but to give a one tool guy over $200 mil just to swing a bat seems kind of extreme. Especially considering the Tigers has a guy for that slot in Victor Martinez, who just happens to be out for this season with a blown knee.
For the short term, like a year or two, this deal works, but come down the road when Martinez and Miguel Cabrara's contracts are up and your stuck with this bloated contact of Fielders, well, you get the issue.
Detroit is gambling that it can win a World Series in the next two years with Fielder and if they do, I guess you can say it was worth it to sign him. The thing is, however, that they still could have won the AL Central without Fielder, then got Martinez back next season, and would have a legit shot at the Series without carrying this noose of a contract.
Basically, in my opinion, signing Fielder was a knee jerk reaction. It was a move not thought out and one that will come back to haunt the Tigers, mark my words. Nothing against the big man, he's a hell of a bat, but no bat who can't do anything else is worth that kind of dough, especially when no other team seemed willing to shell out that kind of cash.
Ok, I will now go back to enjoying sports for what it is and disregard all these outlandish contracts being tossed around.
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS