After weeks of speculation free agent 1B Prince Fielder had few other options besides the Washington Nationals, Detroit signed the former Milwaukee Brewer to a 9-year, $124 million pact early this week, a scenario the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden describes thusly ; “just when it looked as if the Avenging Agent had finally overplayed his hand and left himself without the ‘One Dumb Owner’ to fork over an Albert Pujols-like contract, in the Tigers’ Mike Ilitch, Boras managed to pluck an old familiar one out of his hat.” Even worse, Madden suggests GM Dave Dombrowski never would’ve signed off on the deal. Even Donnie Walsh doesn’t know how Dombrowski can work under such conditions!
With the qually girthy and immobile Miguel Cabrera slated to move to third base (where he hasn’t played since 2007) to make room for Fielder (whose 15 errors were the most of any first baseman in baseball last year) the Tiger infield — which also includes range-challenged Jhonny Peralta at short — has the potential to be one of the most porous in the history of baseball, offsetting the Tigers’ biggest strength, their pitching.
Then there’s the matter of the leadoff spot where Austin Jackson struck out 181 times last year, dropped 44 points off his batting average from the year before and had an on-base percentage of just .317.
You could make the case that, even with the Martinez injury, a leadoff hitter was a bigger need for the Tigers, who still lack an adequate table-setter for their two middle-of-the-order thumpers.
In the meantime, in Fielder, Cabrera and Martinez, the Tigers now have $177 million allocated to first basemen/designated hitters over the next three years. Anyone who knows Dave Dombrowski, knows he would never construct a team like that.
This wasn’t the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs or Phillies wreaking havoc on the salary structure for the small- and middle-market clubs, this was one of their own, and there was nothing Selig or his labor chief, Rob Manfred, could have done to prevent Boras from bamboozling another owner into a ridiculous contract.