Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Prince Fielder Signs with the Tigers; The Tigers' Newest Fielder

The goes that mystery team again.

In a development that was not nationally bought into or discussed outside of the the Motor City, the Detroit Tigers have signed the son of former Detroit Tiger's first baseman Cecil Fielder. The move gives the Tigers a replacement and upgrade on Victor Martinez in the DH spot and makes the Tigers shot at repeating in the AL Central that much better.

Four days after GM Dave Dombrowski said Prince would be a "long shot" and "Not a good fit", the GM signed the former Milwaukee Brewers First Baseman to a  Nine year, $214 Million dollar deal paying Fielder an average of nearly $24 million dollars a year, and the Tigers have a power source they have not had since the Elder Fielder signed  with Detroit a little over 20 years ago. So what does this mean for the Tigers, Prince and the league?

For the Tigers, it signals to their fans that they are ready to win this year, next year and the year after with an amazing nucleus of first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Cy Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Alex Avila, Delmon Young and Austin Jackson. That doesn't include the aforementioned Victor Martinez' return next year and the three golden arms, Jacob Turner, Drew Smyly and Casey Crosby, that will be ready for the pros in  the next year or two.

This will be an exciting lineup to watch in the next few years as both Miguel Cabrera and Fielder are playing with a players the caliber of each other arguably for the first time in their careers (all due respect to Ryan Braun). This will grossly change the way pitchers can pitch to Cabrera and/or Fielder depending on the lineup configuration. Both are very much used to being the number 4 hitter and being pitched around in nearly 20% of their at bats. Yet, with the signing of Fielder the luxury of doing so may have gone out of the window and pose the possibility of the number four offense from a year ago topping the Yankees, Angels and Red Sox for the top offense in the league.

And this also gives credence and reason, more than his battle of the bulge,( Maybe the psuedo-vegeterian Fielder can implant some better habits on the slugger) for the Tigers to stress Miguel Cabrera to make more progress this offseason to shed weight and get in bette, more agile space to allow Fielder to play first base and allow Cabrera to slide over to third base, where the former shortstop and third baseman played for the Marlins and parts of his time with the Tigers.  His glove will be better than expected by most at the hot corner and will be a development to watch throughout the season.

The ball is now in the Princ'es Court.
As for Prince, this is not a new experience to Prince, well outside of switching to the American League. His father, Cecil, played for the Tigers from 1990 to the middle of 1996, hitting 245 home runs and driving in 758 runs. The younger Fielder would join his father to the old Tigers Stadium as a child, and would regularly take batting practice, even hitting a few out of the stadium as a 12 year old (legend has it he hit one OUT of the stadium as a teen). His return to the City can play one two ways.
And he could be gunning for
the Cecil got from Tigers Fans
from 1990-1996.
Prince has his chance to truly use the chance to play in the city his father played in and use it as a motivator to outdue what his father accomplished during his time there or as jump off point for their relationship to mend. What he says about playing for the Tigers with relation to his father will be a great piece of knowledge on how he currently stands with the elder Fielder.

As for the League? It sends a message. With two of the top three first baseman on the same team, more pitching the team knows what to do with and a sour taste from last season's heartbreaking loss in the ALCS, the Tigers have become the team to beat in the American League. A top 5 offense, a top pitching staff that ranked in the top ten after the all star break last year and a playoff caliber bullpen led by a Champion head Coach in Jim Leyland will be a bear for any team in the AL or NL. They can match power for power with every elite team in the league and show the depth to overtake the Rangers as the league's pennant holder.

Though all is still hypothetical with the season month's away, but the Tigers look ready, right now to win in all later this year.

1 comment:

  1. stephan plz give me a hollar