Was Detroit the right choice for Fielder?
By Brad White
Earlier today, Prince Fielder finally signed his long-awaited monster deal. It came with an unexpected team, the Tigers, who came out of nowhere to sign him after they figured out that their DH/catcher Victor Martinez will miss all of next season with an ACL tear.
I’m kind of happy for Prince. I was worried that he was going to go to a team that wasn’t a guaranteed contender for 2012, such as the Nationals, Dodgers, Orioles, and so on. We all know the Tigers are going to contend, and will probably repeat their AL Central championship. But, the Tigers already have an All-Star first baseman in place- Miguel Cabrera.
I don’t think Fielder realized what he was getting into.
Let’s compare the two. They’re both great hitters. Fielder probably has more power, as he hit 38 home runs with 120 RBIs in 2011, while Cabrera hit 30 home runs along with 105 RBIs. But, Cabrera is a much more consistent hitter. He hit .344 in 2011, which was good for the highest batting average in the Majors, while Fielder hit .299.
Those stats pretty much set up their spots in the Tigers’ lineup. The guy who hits for a higher average typically hits third, while the guy with more power hits fourth- that’s Cabrera third and Fielder fourth.
But let’s go to the other end of the spectrum- defense. As Brewer fans, we all know how awful Fielder was defensively at first base this year. He had 14 errors at first, which lead the league among first baseman. Cabrera, meanwhile, isn’t going to win any Gold Gloves, but he’s a far superior defender to Fielder.
My point is Fielder is going to be seeing a lot of time as a designated hitter. He never really specified if that mattered while he was looking for a deal, but, I assume a first baseman in the prime of his career is going to want to play first base. But, that’s the thing about the American League. The Tigers can keep Fielder’s awful defense off the field, but his massive power in the lineup, while still using Cabrera’s talents as well.
But who knows. Maybe Fielder was willing to sacrifice his chance to play on the field regularly for a chance to contend. And I guess I respect that, but a 28-year old DH isn’t making much sense to me.
So that’s my take on it. Overall, I still don’t know if this was the right choice for Fielder. But it’s his choice, after all.
Anyway, most of you are probably wondering who I am. I go by Brad White, and I’m a new staff writer here at Reviewing the Brew. You can call me by name here- Brad White- or my Twitter/WordPress username, BreakingWI. Along with my new job here at RtB, I also run a Brewers daily news blog called Breaking Wisconsin (hence the name BreakingWI). I started it back in June during Interleague play, and I’ve tried to keep it going through good times and bad.
But enough of my own blog. Hopefully I’ll be posting here two or three times a week from now on, and I’m excited for this opportunity.