PRINCE FIELDER – 9 YEARS – $214 MILLION
Prince Fielder started his career with the Milwaukee Brewers. He played seven seasons with them. These were memorable years. He became the youngest person to hit 50 home runs. He won the home run derby 2 times. In 2009 he drove in 141 runs. He never played less than 157 games. In 2008 he led the Brewers into the playoffs as a wild card team. It was their first trip to the playoffs in 26 years. Through 2008, the highest income he earned was $670,000.
In 2009 he signed a two year contract with the Brewers for $18 million. In the two years, Fielder continued high offensive productivity. In 2011, Fielder signed a one year contract with the Brewers for $15.5 million. It was understood when the year was done, he would become a free agent. He hit 38 home runs with 120 RBIs. He batted .299 with the third highest slugging percentage in the league. Through 2011 he had the second highest slugging percentage in Brewer history. He was second in Brewer career home runs to Robin Yount. It was of note that he played in all162 games for the second straight year. The only weakness in his game was that he had the lowest fielding percentage of any first baseman in the league.
THE BIG DAY
Fielder entered free agency as a tremendous offensive leader in the American League. In January 2012, he signed with the Detroit Tigers for a huge 9 year $214 million. He had two productive years in Detroit. He drove over 100 runs in each year with 30 and 26 home runs. MIguel Cabrera credits having Fielder in the lineup forced opponents to pitch to himself leading to a year where Cabrera won the triple crown. Led by these two hitters the Tigers made it to the World Series where they were swept by the Giants. At the end of 2013 he had played in 831 of his last 832 games.
Despite the numbers, things were slipping for Fielder. His poor fielding and base-running dropped his WAR to an average of 3.5 a season which is good but not worth $214 million. The Tigers had defensive problems with Fielder at first and Cabrera at third. Also Fielder had his worst season in 2013. He hit .279 with only 25 home .The answer was a trade with the Rangers. The Rangers had missed the playoffs by 1 game in 2013. When the Tigers included $30 million in a trade for Ian Kinsler, the $30 Million dollars would begin to be paid starting in 2016 – 2020 at $6 Million a year. The rangers believed they were getting the best of this deal.
The whole plan was to free up money to sign Miguel Cabrera to his lifetime deal.