I sit here still dumbfounded by the deal the Tigers made with Prince Fielder. I mean come on; 214 million over 9 years? That’s a bit much for me, as I would of offered no more than a 5-year deal. There’s too much uncertainty as to whether or not he’ll be the same caliber player he is now, several years down the road. In the short term, I feel the signing of Fielder is great for the Tigers. Add him in with their Ace Justin Verlander, and I feel the Tigers could be a 100 game winning team this year. But that’s this year. The further down the road you go, the older Verlander gets, and the older Fielder gets, and subsequently, the less games the Tigers win. Now you might be saying, “But he’s only 27 years old”; yes, that’s true. Fielder is in the prime of his career, and his contract runs out when he’s only 37 years old, but you can’t tell me that he’ll hit 38 home runs, and drive in 120 like he did last season, for everyone of those years. As you get older, you start to slow down. It’s the way your body works. 9 years is outragious to me.
I bring this up only because I was looking at players salaries for the 2012 season, and wondering if any of them were actually making what they’re worth to their team. Let me use Alex Rodriguez as an example. (This ties back into too long of a deal for Prince Fielder). The Yankees signed A-rod to a 10-year, 275 million dollar deal when he was 32 years old. Now that he’s 36, he’s starting to slow down. (Or at least it appeared that way last season, as he was injured a lot.) Now, supposedly, Rodriguez has been taking those “miracle” treatements like Kobe Bryant took during the offseason. Watching Bryant, and comparing him to last season, he appears to be healthier (injury wise) than he’s been the past couple seasons. If the treatements work for A-rod, like they worked for Kobe, he could shock us all, and hit 30 home runs, and drive in 100, in the 2012 season, but I just don’t see that happening. Although Fielder was a lot younger than Rodriguez when he inked his massive deal, I still feel that the Tigers are making a mistake in the long run.
In the end, it’s not really the amount of money that gets me. What gets me is the length of the deals. It’s one thing to bring a young 22 year old guy up from the minor leagues and sign him to a 10-year deal, but signing a 27 year old to a nine year deal just doesn’t make sense to me. The only upside for the Tigers is that Prince plays in 99% of the season’s games. But that’s likely to change as he gets older.