Prince Fielder is no longer a free agent. According to reports, the first baseman has signed a nine-year deal worth $214 million with Detroit, the team the Rangers beat in six games in the American League Championship Series in October.
The Tigers won this round in the role of the always-dangerous mystery team. The Rangers, along with Washington and Baltimore, were believed to be the front-runners for Fielder. The Rangers, though, were never close, according to general manager Jon Daniels, as they came up short on both years and money.
Daniels said that the Rangers were informed on Monday that they were out. He said last week that signing Fielder was "very unlikely" as the Rangers needed agent Scott Boras to agree to a creative deal.
Mitch Moreland, it would appear, will be the Rangers' primary first baseman, though Mike Napoli, Michael Young and possibly Brad Hawpe could see time there in 2012. Moreland is coming off surgery on his right wrist and had planned to start swinging a bat for the first time last week.
With Fielder gone as a left-handed power-hitting option, the Rangers could intensify negotiations on a contract extension with Josh Hamilton. Assistant GM Thad Levine has said that signing the 2010 AL MVP is a priority, and Hamilton is willing to negotiate until the start of spring training.
-- Jeff Wilson