Prince Fielder reportedly agreed to a nine-year, $214 million contract with the Tigers on Tuesday, joining Miguel Cabrera to give Detroit an explosive one-two punch in the middle of its lineup.
The Tigers have not commented on or confirmed the multiple reports. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported on the agreement.
The reported terms would give the deal an average annual value of $23.78 million, just shy of the $24 million annual average of the $10-year, $240 million contract Albert Pujols signed with the Angels last month and about $1.22 million less than that of the five-year, $125 million extension the Phillies’ Ryan Howard signed in April 2010.
Fielder, 27, has hit 230 home runs in his Major League career of six-plus seasons, all spent with the Milwaukee Brewers before he became a free agent this offseason. He hit 38 home runs with 120 RBIs last year and finished third in the voting for National League Most Valuable Player for the second time in his career.
The left-handed-hitting first baseman presumably will bat fourth behind Cabrera, who led the Majors last season with a .344 batting average, .448 on-base percentage and 48 doubles.
The Tigers last week lost their primary designated hitter, Victor Martinez, to a torn ACL in his left knee. He is expected to miss the season. Presumably, Fielder will play first base and Cabrera will mostly DH. Cabrera played third base and left field during his first five Major League seasons with the Marlins.
The Nationals, Rangers and Orioles all were reported to have interest in Fielder, who will sign a contract quite late in the offseason, given that Spring Training camps open in mid-February. Washington and a “mystery team” were said to have been finalists by CBSSports.com.
Fielder is a three-time All-Star. He hit 50 home runs in 2007 and led the Majors in RBIs with 141 in 2009. He has missed one game in the past three seasons.
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said he surmised that the Tigers could be players for Fielder after the injury to Martinez.
“You only have to have one team, two teams involved,” Melvin said “Prince is a very valued player, and we would have loved to have him [longer] but we didn’t have that money. [Agent Scott Boras] got a deal that he likes and it looks like a pretty good deal for Prince.”