"I didn't overpay... did I?" - Mike Ilitch's inner thoughts
I'm still not sure I'm reading this news right.
The Detroit Tigers and slugger Prince Fielder have agreed to a nine-year, $214 million deal, a source told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.
I've been told by so many fans of different teams that only the Yankees would do something so nonsensical. You know, it's one thing to spend a ton on a guy that's needed, but I don't really see a need here.
For starters, Detroit already has an MVP-caliber player at first base. Apparently Miguel Cabrera will be moved to 3B so that Fielder can stick at 1B (Prince has never played anywhere but 1B in MLB or the minor leagues). Which sounds like a fine plan since Miggy has played some 3B, but a couple problems... 1) he hasn't played 3B since 2008, and 2) his UZR/150 there that season was -36.8. To be fair Cabrera only played 116 innings there at year, but in the previous two seasons... in which he averaged about 1,318 innings at 3B... he was still below average. So the defense has certainly taken a step back.
Like I was saying when it came to the Yankees not needing to improve their pitching by signing Cole Hamels next offseason, now that they have Michael Pineda to go along with CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova for another 5 years, I don't think the Tigers needed this offensive boost. Sure, losing Victor Martinez for a season hurts, but look at their runs total last season. They scored 787 runs, which was 47 more runs than the next highest team in the AL Central. And that was the 4th place Kansas City Royals, as the 2nd place Indians scored 83 less runs (704), and the 3rd place White Sox scored 133 less runs (654). Not to mention that in 2013 and 2014 the team will get Victor Martinez back, and have an offense that is way more than they need. Especially when you consider the contracts that will be on the books.
Now, keep in mind that Detroit's payroll last season was around $107 million. Well, over the next 3 years, the team will be paying 4 guys a total of $77.9 million a season (Fielder's AAV is $23.8m, Cabrera's AAV is $21.3, Verlander's is $20.1m, and Martinez's is $12.7m). Unless the team plans on raising the team payroll then they are looking at having 73% of their payroll for only 4 guys on the 40-man roster. That's insane. I looked up the top 4 players, as far as salary, for the Yankees and they'll make just over $93.9 million (ARod - $30m, Sabathia-$24.286m, Teixeira-$23.125m, Burnett-$16.5m), or less than 50% of the team's payroll. That's still a ton for just 4 players, but it's a little different when the team is spending around $200 million.
I'm not saying I won't be nervous about facing Detroit, but I really don't think it made sense for them.