The Detroit Tigers signed Prince Fielder to a monster, 9-year $214 million dollar contract today. While you were busy thinking of him in a lineup that already contains Miguel Cabrera, or where the Tigers will put Fielder, Cabrera, and Victor Martinez once Martinez returns from injury in a year or so; you probably didn’t realize that this deal brought Fielder to the city where the Fielder name gained fame and notoriety in the baseball world.
Prince is going to the city where his daddy Cecil hit 284 big league home runs. The Tigers were the forgotten team all along while everyone seemed to speculate about Prince signing with the Nationals, Mariners and Rangers. All the while, this move makes perfect sense for the Tigers who were likely to jump into the sweepstakes once Victor Martinez went down with season ending surgery on his knee last week.
Our opinion is while it’s a great signing for the immediate term–Fielder got too much money. He’s not like an Albert Pujols in the sense that he’s likely always to remain in peak physical condition into his middle and late 30’s. By the time this deal is done, Fielder probably won’t be worth the value. This deal is really going to see the value come to the Tigers within the first four to five years of the contract. This is not unique for a lot of baseball contracts that are signed today. How many 9-year contracts ever even see the player live out the life of the contract in the same place?
It was that same length and money amount that got Prince Fielder through the door in Motown. And while we all thought the market for Prince Fielder was becoming extremely thin with the Rangers throwing big money at Yu Darvish, the market all along was very much alive.