The winners and losers in the Prince Fielder deal

Big League Stew

So does Prince Fielder signing with the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday afternoon qualify as déjà vu all over again?

You bet your sweet Seger it does. Not only is the hefty first baseman heading to the city where his father hit 51 homers in 1991, but the news broke in very similar fashion to Albert Pujols' deal with the Los Angeles Angels back in December: An out-of-nowhere tweet from our own Tim Brown citing a landing spot we hadn't considered (Detroit) for an unbelievable contract length (nine years!) and a supersized money total ($214 million, slow whistle).

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports was the first one to tweet the numbers, which don't include an opt-out clause and are still pending a physical.

Like we did with the Pujols contract, here's a rundown of the winners and losers that are emerging as the ink starts to dry on baseball's latest mega-contract.


Scott Boras: Just when we were starting to doubt him, the super agent turns what we wrongly guessed was a dwindling market for Fielder into his first 200-plus million contract since A-Rod. All with one of his infamous mystery teams, no less!

Staying patient was key for Boras in this deal, but it might not have happened if the Tigers hadn't needed to address an unexpected hole in their lineup. Here's guessing Boras will buy Victor Martinez's torn ACL something nice over the next week or so.

Prince Fielder: He didn't quite match the length or overall value of Pujols' $252 million deal, but the total of $214 million qualifies Fielder for the fourth-biggest overall contract of all time. He's already made $35 million to this point of his career, plus he could conceivably pull down even more money as he'll only be 36 when this deal expires. 

Dave Dombrowski: All the headlines go to guys like Jon Daniels and Andrew Friedman, but Detroit's general manager has built a playoff-caliber team with a strong rotation and a strong lineup. Of course, it doesn't help when you have millions of dollars from an 83-year-old pizza magnate who seems bent on winning a World Series title with the time he has left on this mortal coil.

Little Caesars pizza: You just can't buy the type of free advertising that thousands of tweeted jokes about Fielder's waistline provides. Prince, by the way, can now purchase 42.8 million $5 pizzas at Little Caesars. That's pickup only, of course.

Slows Bar-B-Q: While we're on the topic of Prince's appetite, there's little doubt he'll help to boost Detroit's economy by patronizing the city's best barbecue spot. (And before you write that he's a vegetarian, remember that we reported he got his groove for meat back during the playoffs in St. Louis.)

Ryan Zimmerman: With Fielder off the market, the third baseman for the Washington Nationals no longer has to wait in line for a contract extension and risk being told the cash register is empty.

Preseason picks: We all had a good laugh when all 45 of ESPN's experts (yes, that correctly says 45) picked the Red Sox to win the American League in 2011. But it's hard to imagine anything resembling a majority favorite in 2012. The Tigers, Angels, Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox and Rays are all going to get their share of nods, but at least one team is guaranteed to miss the playoffs. That sort of competition is great for baseball.

* * *


Prince Fielder: It's impossible to feel bad for anyone who just increased their personal worth by $214 million in one day. But he's going to earn a lot of those dollars each of the times he's uncomfortably asked a question about his father, Cecil. The two have been estranged from each other for quite some time and being constantly reminded of that has to sting, no matter how much money one makes.

Washington Nationals: Has Jayson Werth's contract officially claimed its first victim in losing out on Prince Fielder? The Nats apparently didn't want to tie themselves into another long-term contract — certainly not for nine years — but adding Fielder definitely would have made the Nats an instant contender in 2012. And as the richest owner in baseball, ol' man Lerner could afford to take the hit.

Yours truly: There are any number of excuses I could make for writing "I really do think Fielder to the Nats is inevitable" on Monday morning. But I won't. You win some and you lose some, so crack that egg and throw it my way. I hear it's good for the skin.

Kansas City Royals: Part of the prospect-packed team's plan to return to the playoffs was predicated on the AL Central staying weak over the next few years. And while the White Sox, Twins and Indians might be cooperating with K.C.'s vision, it looks like it'll have a big mountain to overcome in Michigan for at least the next 2-3 years.

AL Central pitching: No further explanation necessary.

Cincinnati Reds: As's Mark Sheldon notes, Fielder's contract probably doesn't really change anything with Joey Votto's approaching free agency in 2013. But seeing that kind of money tossed around for Fielder has to shake even the most optimistic of Reds fans. Votto is only staying if he grants a healthy discount and there's probably no chance of that happening.

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