The Detroit Tigers made a huge splash in free agency Tuesday, agreeing to terms with first baseman Prince Fielder on a 9-year, $214 million contract. Fielder, 27, was the best free agent available not named Albert Pujols, who signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for 10 years, $254 mil. Fielder joins a potentially potent Tigers lineup that could feature AL batting champ Miguel Cabrera, DH Victor Martinez (who hit .330 in 2011) and all-star catcher Alex Avila.
The acquisition of Fielder gives the Tigers a bit of a logjam at first base/designated hitter. Cabrera played primarily at first for the Tigers for the last three seasons and hasn’t played a different position since 2008. Moving Cabrea to third base is an option, as he did play there in 2007 with the Marlins (although he committed 23 errors). Another potential solution would be to move Cabrera to the outfield in place of aging Magglio Ordonez. Ordonez has been plagued by injuries the last couple seasons and will be 38 at the start of spring training, so his days in Detroit may be over.
Fielder finished 2011 third in MVP voting, hitting 38 home runs and driving in 120 while batting .299. Fielder has also been one of baseball’s most durable players, missing only 13 games in the past six seasons. Prince Fielder’s father Cecil Fielder also played for the Tigers, slamming 245 home runs in seven seasons from 1990-1996.
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