PRINCE’S PLUS-SIZED DEAL
Frank: The Tigers came out of nowhere to grab Prince Fielder for a mere $214 million over nine years. Your reaction?
Artie: First, I can’t tell you how much I’ll miss all those monstrous home runs with nobody on base.
Frank: Come on, he must have been driving in somebody besides himself all those years.
Artie: Well, I’m glad he didn’t go to the Cubs or Cardinals, or anywhere in the National League. And it makes sense for the Tigers.
Frank: Maybe not nine years’ worth of sense, though.
Artie: Apparently, the Tigers only got involved a couple of weeks ago, when their DH, Victor Martinez, tore up a knee.
Frank: The Journal Sentinel story said they made a one-year offer and when agent Scott Boras spurned it—no doubt with a big laugh—“talks accelerated” to the nine-year deal.
Artie: From one to nine ain’t acceleration; it’s warp speed!
Frank: The owner, Mike Ilitch, wasn’t really thinking long-term. He decided, in effect, “I want to win now and I don’t much care if Prince breaks down eventually.”
Artie: Well, he’s 82. His future is definitely now!
Frank: But so many other owners leap into long-term deals, especially with pitchers, that are almost sure to go sour. And they knock the entire salary structure out of whack. Philly just signed Hunter Pence for this year for $10 million-plus.
He had a nice 2011, but $10 million for Hunter Pence?
Artie: Prince won’t be as comfy in April and September as he was under the Miller Park roof. And Comerica Park is no hitter’s haven, ain’a?
Frank: That reputation has been fading. It was true when it opened in 2000, and in 2003 they moved the fences in—but only in left field and left-center. Right field wasn’t the concern, and the distances there are shorter than at Miller Park—330 in right (345 here) and 365 in right-center (374 here).
Artie: Prince and Miguel Cabrera should produce a lot of runs, but they’ll give some back with their defense, assuming Cabrera shifts from first to third.
Even in the rosiest of views, they’re barely average in the field.
Frank: At least the infield won’t tilt if the big fellas are in opposite corners.