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11/21/2013

Did Detroit unload an expensive lemon

Prince+Fielder+Detroit+Tigers+v+Seattle+Mariners+LP-3V5qhboYlTwo years after the Texas Rangers failed in their attempt to add Prince Fielder they eventually landed him.

Fielder will give the Rangers their first reliable power hitting first baseman since 2007 when they had Mark Teixeira. Since then it was a diet of Chris Davis (before he was Crush Davis), Justin Smoak and Mitch Moreland.

The Rangers' trade of second baseman Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder is essentially two teams unloading contracts they no longer liked; the concern isn't the cash but why the Tigers wanted to get rid of this guy. And it was Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski who floated this deal to start.

A pro sports GM once told me, "If they're trading you, there's a reason - and it's usually not good." 

The money is not awful; after all of the money is changed hands, Fielder will be with the Rangers for seven years around $75 million. He is only 29. Even though he is what we may call "large", Fielder has played in at least 157 games in his first full eight major league seasons. He played in all 162 games in each of the last three years.

So why did the Tigers no longer want their Prince? Was it because of the monster deal they are going to need to keep Miquel Cabrera? Or was it something larger?

Fielder hacked off a lot of people with these comments made after the Tigers' lost in the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox; basically, he sounded glib and that he was over it. Fans hate to hear it when the player sounds as if he doesn't care as much as the ticket-paying customer.

091313-MLB-Tigers-Prince-Fielder-PI-AA_20130913222706333_660_320This is the line that bothered people the most: "It’s not really tough, man. For me, it’s over. I got kids I gotta take care of, I got things to take care of. For me, it’s over, bro."

By all accounts, Prince was a well-liked and respected player in his many years with the Milwaukee Brewers. But if he really doesn't care - which his numbers suggest that is not the case - this will be an issue. Ball players who function as if they are on an island in a clubhouse tend to alienate those around them; older guys who come to new teams often struggle to adjust to the transition.

Nothing on Fielder's resume says he will mail it in, or that he is simply cashing checks and going home. But there is a reason why the Detroit Tigers, after two productive seasons, wanted to get rid of him. Maybe it was just a contract they no longer wanted.

If it is a larger issue, the Rangers will know soon enough.

Twitter @MacEngelProf
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Comments

drunk dialing in dallas

Fielder isn't the answer but he is a good piece and as long as he stays healthy I think he could be a steal for the money. I'm glad to see the Rangers trying to add some power. We need it.

Bob in Arlington

Risky deals in baseball can reap rewards but about 50% of the time they prove to be mearly temporary solutions.

I would give note to the recent demise of the Angels, Yankees and Giants with big money contracts on other teams yesterday hero's.... aka, "Free Agents" that are anything but FREE.

What continues to puzzle me is that the stRangers for several years now was suppose to have the MBL's best minor league system stocked with talent.... so where is that talent?

This is but one piece on a team that has several holes to fill... albeit a very expensive start.

black is back

Fielder is a risk but he is worth the risk. I think he still has a lot left in his tank and I don't see him laying down.

Bob in Arlington

We can only hope that Fielder indeed does have more left in the tank.

But as we can see the Angels thought the same about Hamilton and Pulos.

One thing to remember about Fielder's becoming a Ranger is that he got a divorce last year and his wife has the kids in Detroit. Fielder was critized in Detroit for being too much a family man.

In Detroit he had his kids on the field with him before every home game... not anymore.

We can hope that he finds a way to solve that issue now some several hundred miles from his children

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