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This news impacts the Chicago Cubs at least tangentially – former divisional opponent, possible prior interest – and, even if it didn’t, it’s worth writing about for the shock, alone. According to Jon Heyman, Tim Brown, and Ken Rosenthal (each getting a piece of the story), the Detroit Tigers have been Boras’d, and have signed Prince Fielder to a nine-year, $214 million contract.

Yo. That’s a serious contract right there. And it came from the “mystery team.” Until today, it looked fairly likely that Fielder would be going to the Nationals.

The implications of the deal as far as the Cubs are concerned could be limited, or expansive. It ends any speculation that the Cubs could flip Alfonso Soriano or Marlon Byrd to the Tigers (as I’ve said for some time now). The impact on the Tigers’ possible interest in Matt Garza will be interesting to watch. On the one hand, the purse strings probably just got a bit tighter. On the other hand, I’ve heard that Victor Martinez’s contract was insured against knee injuries, so the Tigers’ budget for 2012 might not have changed all that much, depending on how Fielder’s contract is structured. Further, with Fielder on board, the Tigers may decide that now is the time to strike, and adding Garza on top of Fielder is about as solid a “strike” as you can make.

For my part, I am certain there was a time, early in the offseason, when the Cubs were modestly interested in Fielder. I reported as much, as did Bruce Levine, among others. The rub, though, as we always cautioned, was that the Cubs would sign Fielder only on their terms: a short-term deal, no longer than five years. When it became clear that Fielder was going to get a long, big money deal elsewhere, the Cubs moved on.

I’d venture a guess that the decision to move on came shortly before the January trade that sent Andrew Cashner and Kyung-Min Na to the Padres for first baseman Anthony Rizzo and pitcher Zach Cates.

Is anyone complaining? I’m certainly not.

  • morgan

    Trade soriano and minor leaguer and cash, to balt for nolan reimold, think he would fit in good with the cubs, Being able to play everyday think he could hit 20-30 hrs for the Cubs, Hes a right handed hitter that would fit nicely into the 5 spot, middle of the order hitter, think the Dejesus signing hurts the cubs, doesnt hit for power or drive runs in the same with barney and bryd, they cant have 3 players who cant drive in runs, would like to see bryd traded and start jackson in Cf
    lineup
    jackson
    castro
    rizzo
    reimold
    steward
    soto
    dejesus
    barney
    pretty solid other than dejesus and barney, need that lf to be a number 4 hitter

    • 2much2say

      From Reimold down that is aweful.
      Castro Dejesus Cespedes Rizzo Lahair Soto Stewart Barney

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      sori already said he would not accept a trade to baltimore

  • 2much2say

    Basically, Castellanos becomes a chip and Jacobs the meat for Garza and maybe a AA pitcher to boot.

  • edgar

    Maybe this lea.ds to tigers vs cubs 3 in the world series in a few years. Maybe we go 3-0 n we finally win

    • George W. Bush

      You forgot 1945.

      Also, you forgot Poland.

  • SouthernCub

    This is me laughing at Detroit…………S U C K E R S ! ! ! !

    • JulioZuleta

      All they need to do is win 1 for it to all be worth it.

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        exactly… and you always love to see the club aggressive in there quest to win. there will be sceptics until the deal pays its dividends. i admire detroit’s commitment to winning it all and wish them the best with there new big prize… the world is watching

  • Ian Afterbirth

    I can’t wait to see how this plays out over the coming years.
    My bet is that we’re ecstatic we didn’t get so Boras’d 4 years from now.

    • Bric

      I’m already ecstatic. With the economy in the tank, the stricter protocol for PEDs, and an ownership/management team committed to reasonable salaries in relation to wins, the best decision the Cubs could’ve made was firing Hendry and passing on Pujols and Fielder.

  • die hard

    no surprise…..every ones been saying from day one likely long term deal with AL and short term with NL…he opted for long term….curious as to fine print as to how much is front loaded…also are last several years opt out?…what are opt out considerations?…no trade clause entire contract?…good for him as hes a once in a generation player and follows in dad’s footsteps…big shoes to fill there but he can…also direct flight to FLA for family…now icing on cake is if he buys 200 seasons tkts and donates to boys and girls clubs to start new fan base

    • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

      Reports are that the deal contains no opt outs.

  • Cliffy

    QT @JesseSanchezMLB: Cespedes gains residency in the DR: http://t.co/i5fjDk1a

  • die hard

    Soriano’s playing time should be managed so its on a platoon basis with which ever left hand hitting OF breaks camp be it Campana or other….Sori can be productive if given lots of time off…as long as Cubs on the hook why not get 15 HR and 50 rbi from him and when add to that production of other player could be doable…

  • rbreeze

    Unbelievable!!!  If the owners keep on paying I say good for Prince.  Last night Jon Heyman (MLB network) called it.  He mentioned the usual suspects and then a mystery team could land the Prince.

    Soriano already said he wouldn’t go to Baltimore.  I think he becomes the majors highest paid part time outfielder.  If he could cut down on the strike outs he might be a little above average.

     I’m glad the Cubs didn’t get involved and hang themselves.  Now that the big chip has landed in Detroit, lets settle this Garza thing one way or the other.   Extend him or trade him.  And lets get spring tarining started.  Barring any moves by Theo and Jed, we may suck this year but we will suck better than ever with a brighter future.

  • CUB5

    While Fielder is a great pickup for Detroit, the money is too much. I’m glad the Cubs were out of it early (I don’t believe they were serious about him and vice versa). Why would he want to come to a rebuilding team that’s at least 2-3 years from being a serious contender? That’s $214 million saved and available for developing young talent. I would love to see a solid group assembled that can compete for many years to come instead of a hodgepodge of players the Cubs have seen the past few seasons.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      cool avatar cub5!

      • ferrets_bueller

        seriously cool.

    • CUB5

      Thanks! :)

  • Quintz

    The thought is that this deal was done by the 85 year old Mike Ilitch because he feels they need to win a World Series now (before he dies). Maybe this will make them more likely to move Turner and Castellanos for Garza. In my opinion they just made one insane move, why not keep the ball rolling?

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    well detroit can seal there date in october by scooping up garza… the package of prospect is highly unlikely to help the current team the way garza would and hey we’ll just call it your year. if you wanna get all crazy, give us our youngsters and we’ll ice your world championship with our best pitcher… a deal you have commited to already even if you dont know it yet. win now means win now!

  • Matt

    Interesting question to consider… Now that Albert and Prince are officially out of the NL Central, can anyone name 5 superstar players from NL Central teams? I’m coming up with Ryan Braun (who may or may not be out for 50 games) and Joey Votto. After that, I’m drawing a huge blank.

    • Bric

      What about Starlin Castro? The term “superstar” only means something to the agents in terms of their commision. Just ask the red Sox, Yankees, and Phillies, and (unfortunately) the Cubs under prevoius ownership and coaching.

    • Eric

      In a couple years. Rizzo, Castro, Turner (cubs)!!

  • http://jjcubs jj

    bring tiger woods in to teach soriano how to drive the ball out of the dirt

  • OHBearCub

    The Cubs were out on Fielder weeks ago if they were ever in at all. Theo said Lahair was
    the first baseman this year. With Rizzo in the wings Layout will be a corner outfielder if he is hitting like last year. This deal with Detroit was a good as it gets. Fielder and Pujols are completely out of the national League. The cubs just got better.

    • bluekoolaidaholic

      The Allstar Game may not be quite as interesting, lol.

  • JK

    Got to love the Tigers cajones. They identified a need and went after it. This is a better signing than Soriano was for the Cubs. Soriano did not have a position was a high-k batter who had not been a slugger his entire career. Clearly the 2nd if not 1st best offensive player available this off-season.

  • OHBearCub

    Now we can keep Soriano as our DH. And let him hit against Left handed . Sveum can maybe coach him up a little bit. We still need to trade Wells for Hughes.

    • mark

      DH?

  • T Larson

    Brett- I’m seeking your opinion. Does Fielder signing with Detroit mean that they are all in and will want Garza to finish out their rotation or will they have spent all they can and no longer want to add him?

    • Edward

      Third option = Cubs eat some of Garza’s salary to get the deal done if Detroit claims they are out of money.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Only they know for sure, but the latter seems more likely than the former.

  • T Larson

    It is also interesting the moves Toronto has made lately.

  • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

    Garza to Detroit for Turner, Castellanos and Jay Voss. That should get it done.

  • die hard

    so trade a proven middle age major league pitcher to free up money for an unproven middle age outfielder….I dont see the rationale

  • BetterNews

    Wow! How does a ballclub in a city with one of the highest unemployment rates and amongst the top in poverty, come up with money like that for Fielder. Truely bewildering.

    • Katie

      I said something similar to this on Twitter. The state of Michigan is so far in debt that is has had to borrow money from the Federal government to pay their unemployment, defaulted on those loans and is now screwed. I understand the money isn’t coming from the Michigan government but how do ‘normal’ people in Detroit afford to go to the ballpark? Plus Detroit is very blue collar, no bullshit kind of town. I wonder what the reaction will be when he starts tanking?

      • MichiganGoat

        Sports is huge in Michigan and people fill the stadium regardless of the economic crisis. I’ve not made it to Comerica but I hear there are affordable seats and specials regularly. Regardless of how bad it is in Detroit people are passionate about their teams and support them whenever they can. Another thing to keep in mind is that although Detroit has been through the wringer financially there are still plenty of people with money that will support this team, and the owner is committed to exciting the fan base.

        • Katie

          Oh absolutely MG! I can totally see the passion the fan have for their teams. I just think it’s almost perverse to make that kind of financial commitment to one person and bring them to a city that has been through so much. I just hope it doesn’t bite them in the ass too badly.

      • BetterNews

        Katie–So true! And he will tank. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of “when” like you stated. (200 mil+ will buy a lot of weight)

        • GOCUBS!

          Why will Prince tank? Just because he didnt sign with the cubs? He’s done well for a few years now!! Just because the Cubs will field a triple a team the next couple of years with a staff full of #5 pitchers doesnt need we have to show sour grapes about a team in the AL. I think Detroit will be better than the Cubs for the next few years, and I think Prince will be better than our 1B for the next few years regardles of who are 1B is. Far from tanking IMHO.

          • Katie

            No sour grapes here. I’m thrilled the Cubs didn’t sign him. I’m sure he will have some monster years, but obviously with a 9 year contract you have to expect a decline and most likely a rapid one.

            • GOCUBS!

              It cant be worse than Sorianos contract and “decline”

              • Katie

                Precisely the reason I’m thrilled we didn’t sign him. We’re already saddled with Soriano’s contract. No reason to add another ridiculous contract. No one is disputing he will be a beast and do great things in Detroit. I just wonder how long before his defense gets really bad and his weight catches up with him.

              • BetterNews

                Could be twice as bad!

          • BetterNews

            Fielder did not bring a WS to Milwaukee and he will not bring one to Detroit. The guy is full of himself and I’m glad he isn’t a Cub, quite frankly!

      • DocWimsey

        I used to live in Michigan. After the auto industry collapsed in the mid 1970’s the joke was in economic “good times,” we’d go from Depression all the way up to Recession.

        However, the Tigers draw very well when the team is playing well. Because so many people left Michigan in the 1970’s and 1980’s, they also draw well on the road when they are good (although this is becoming less true).

        So, the the 2012 Tigers look like the 1984 Tigers, then Comerica (which is a pretty nice park for watching a game) will be packed. If they can win it all in the next couple of years (and, geez, this team is going to MASH), then look at the rest of Fielder’s salary as deferred payments for the teams first trophy in nearly 30 years.

  • GOCUBS!

    Will Theo bring one to Chicago? Ill put it to you this way, Id rather have the Tigers current team than the Cubs if I was hoping to even sniff the playoffs.

    • Katie

      Well duh! We are looking a few years into the future, not 2012! No doubt the Tigers are stacked.

    • JR 1908

      Obivously the Cubs are gonna suck in 2012… Whats your point? Theo is trying to build the team properly thru the farm system. Prince is a great power hitter. But investing a 9 yr. 214 mill. deal to a guy who is clearly over weight at 27 doesn’t seem like a genius move. But that’s just me…

  • KyleNovak

    For what it is worth, ESPN had an analyst project Fielder out using his “ZiPS” system (I’m not an Insider, so I’m not quite sure how it is calculated):

    2011 (actual) – .299/.415/.566, 38 HR

    2012 (projected) – .275/.394/.504, 33 HR

    2016 (projected) – .262/.374/.462, 26 HR

    2020 (projected) – .248/.338/.388, 13 HR

    These are for the first year, middle year, and last year of the contract, respectively.

    The BIll James projection on FanGraphs has him performing better in 2012, at .285/.404/.552 with 38 HR.

    As many have pointed out, it’s clear that the Tigers are going “all in”, trying to take advantage of the current studs they already have on their roster (in their primes, no less) during the next couple of years.

    I’m sure the Cubs front office chuckled to themselves when that sum of money was brought up in negotiations. Thanks, but no thanks. :)

    • DocWimsey

      I’ll be pulling for the Tiggers! I was rooting for them this year. (Of course, I’d root for just about anybody against the Yanks…..)

      • Eric

        I will be rooting for the Tigers, IF and WHEN we trade them Matt Garza for Turner, Smyly, and 2 other good pieces.

        • DocWimsey

          They won’t be giving up on Turner if they are “all in” for the next couple of years: there is too high a probability that he can be a competent big league pitcher.

          Smyly, on the other hand, is only up to AA. That means he’s probably a year or two from helping, but he’s also close enough that the chances of him making it are much better than, say, a low-A pitcher.

          Castellanos might be easier to pry away now as the Tigers are going to be putting Cabrerra at 3rd. But I might be puffing too much on the Hope Hookah there…..

          • Jim

            Frankly, I don’t see Cabrera making the adjustment back to 3rd, so I’m thinking the Tigers want to hold on to Castellanos even more now as insurance for Cabrera not panning out at 3rd.

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