Message to American League pitchers: Beware of the Detroit Tigers.
The Tigers lost their productive designated hitter, Victor Martinez, during the offseason, and on Tuesday they decided to do something about it.
According to multiple reports, the Tigers signed slugging first baseman Prince Fielder to a nine-year, $214 million deal, adding more force to a lineup that already includes Miguel Cabrera.
Martinez is expected to miss the entire season after tearing his left ACL while preparing for the season, but the Tigers seemed to find a worthy replacement for Martinez. Now AL pitchers will have to face both Fielder and Cabrera, possibly back-to-back in the lineup.
Cabrera will move to third base, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The deal won’t be completed until Fielder passes his physical, according to reports.
The Tigers went 95-67 last season and won the division by 15 games. The next closest team in the standings was the Cleveland Indians who finished two games under .500.
It was a bold move by the Tigers to pick up the 27-year-old first baseman who is listed at 275 pounds and may wear down later in his career. But for now, the Tigers get a guy who has played in more than 150 games for six years in a row, and has 230 home runs in seven season in the big leagues. Fielder played in all 162 games last season.
“Everyone knew Mr. Ilitch and Mr. Dombrowski were going to make a move when Victor went down,” outfielder Brennan Boesch told the AP. “But I don’t think anybody thought it would be this big.”
The Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals were also considered players in the Fielder sweepstakes during the offseason.
Fielder’s father, Cecil, also played for the Tigers, and he told SiriusXM that he was “shocked” his son signed with his former team.
“He’s been there in Detroit most of his young life so I think he’ll be comfortable in that place,” Cecil Fielder said, according to the AP. “I know Mr. Ilitch is probably excited because he’s been wanting that kid since he was a little kid, so he finally got his wish.”
Fielder has spent his entire career with the Milwaukee Brewers, hitting .282 and driving in 656 runs.