Tuck: From Prince Of Milwaukee To King Of Detroit
I wonder if it crossed Prince Fielder's mind how many questions he'll get, and how many stories will be attempted to connect him and his father, Cecil?
Prince and dad, Cecil Fielder don't talk anymore. It's a sad and ugly divorce for father and son. So how strange is it that son is now following in dad's footsteps by taking on a starring role in Detroit?
That part of the story will pick up steam as baseball season approaches, but for now, all anyone wants to talk about is if Prince was worth it?
This is a familiar conversation. I blogged about Albert Pujols' mega-deal with the Angels in early December. As I said then, in a vacuum, without context of the sport, no, he isn't worth that much money for that many years. 9-$214 is just too much.
But when you peel back the curtains and look at the other alternatives, you see that it is not just a smart deal, but a no-brainer in a lot of ways.
Prince Fielder is 27 years old. He'll turn 28 during the season, so he'll be 37 when the deal expires. That's not young, but it's not ancient either. More importantly, it's what you get out of him the next 5 years that matters, not the last 4. You want to maximize his star status, and that's what Detroit will get to do.
Prince Fielder has an astounding 200 home runs the last 5 years. He has 505 RBI over that span. Basically, he's been a super stud. And hitting behind one of the most feared hitters in baseball, Miguel Cabrera, he'll be able to continue what he's done while hitting behind Ryan Braun. If he does, then what's the problem? Guys that put up those kinds of numbers don't grow on trees.
Also, a lot has been made of his weight. I understand. He's not exactly Albert Pujols. If he caves in and gets fatter and can't play, I say more shame on him than the Tigers. I also don't think that will happen in the front end of this deal, when Detroit will be competing for World Series. And despite not being the best shape, he has only missed 8 games in the last 5 years. I'd say that's Ripken-esk.
The Tigers had money to spend. Will some of it likely be a waste on the back end? Probably. But how do suggest they would have spend the money more effectively?
Teams like the Brewers and Cardinals now will scramble to find not just one replacement, but many for these lost players, and likely mis-spend money on multiple players. Would you rather have $40 million flushed down the toilet for years 8 and 9 on a superstar, or waste at least that much on 4th and 5th starters and journeymen hitters for the next 3-5 years?
The Cards and Brewers had the money, just not enough. They didn't want to drop that extra $20-$40 million. I get it. I also will be surprised if they spend the other $170-200 million wisely and correctly to build winners.
Detroit will have flaws. They may not win a title. But I know Prince Fielder will rake and they'll be in the hunt for the next half-decade. As a fan, isn't that what you want?