- This signing seems like a great story, right? Prince Fielder returns to Detroit where his father Cecil played, and where he grew up taking batting practice as a young boy. Quite a fairy tale. Here's the real story....all that happened, AND THEN his dad started gambling and didn't stop until he had run through his entire career's major league earnings and started stealing from Prince later in life. The two are not on speaking terms, so it strikes me as odd that Prince would want to draw these comparisons. However, I can think of 214 million reasons he might bury the hatchet and embrace his father's legacy in Detroit.
- At least from the Tiger's perspective it makes sense, right? Nope. In baseball, the rosters have only enough room for MAYBE two overweight players on each team, assuming they are both good enough to play regularly. The Detroit Tigers already have THREE other fatties under team control for two years or more, and all of them are good enough to play everyday. Victor Martinez is a DH who is injured this year, but will be paid handsomely for 2012 and 2013 when he comes back healthy. Alex Avila is a good young player, but one that is big enough that he can only play catcher or DH. Miguel Cabrera is notorious for his incredible performance and his weight. He can only reasonably play first. (Breaking news: The Tigers have just said Miguel Cabrera will be moved to third base to make room for Prince. Just for context, Miguel was very bad at first base....which is approximately 50 times easier and less athletic than third base.)
- So, it appears that the Tigers have dramatically added to their offense by subtracting from their defense in TWO different spots (1st base and 3rd base, because Prince is even worse than Cabrera!) Their reward for this maneuver is a bill for $214 million dollars, and a very pissed off Justin Verlander. This honestly might end up being the worst defensive infield ever created.
- Lastly, if the Tigers are expecting Prince to play baseball similar to how his father used to, wouldn't they pay attention to how his father aged? Cecil was a beast until age 32 when he hit 39 home runs, and then his production fell off a cliff. He was so terrible that he was out of baseball completely by age 34. Fangraphs ran an article in October regarding how "heavy" players age. Prince is 27 now, and the results of the article definitely do not support a 9-year deal. According to the Fangraphs analysis, heavy players peak at age 23 or 24 and decline quickly. By the age of 31-32, most heavy sluggers have lost more than 30% of their production.... At the age of 33, Prince will still have 4 years left on his deal and the Tigers will owe him approximately $100 million dollars. Do you know how many Raspberry Berets that could buy???? This is an exciting deal for Tigers fans for 2012....but let's check back with them in 2017.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Transaction Reaction: Prince Fielder
The Detroit Tigers paid $214 million for 9 years of mash potential and androgyny. I tried to pay an artist for a rendering of Prince wearing a Tigers uniform, but it was hard to make out with all of the purple sequins and whatnot.... so I asked the artist to stop. All that to say, I paid a guy $17 to be the artist who was formerly going to draw Prince.