Tigers’ reactions to Prince Fielder signing

Justin Verlander told his followers on Twitter he was playing a bad round of golf when he got the call on Prince Fielder. His game didn’t get much better, but his day did.

“The Prince news turned my day around! Still played bad, but who cares,” Verlander tweeted. “Really excited about 2012, especially with the new addition.”

He wasn’t the only Tiger looking at the 2012 season with a little brighter outlook, once the sense of shock over Fielder’s signing tapered off.

“I had just got done working out, hitting, and a few of my friends texted me,” superutilityman Don Kelly said. “I seriously thought they were joking. I got online and checked it out and it was all over MLB.com and whatever.”

Austin Jackson, who’s now set to be leading off for a more formidable Tigers lineup, had the same reaction when his phone started going off while he was sitting at home. Shock gave way to mere amazement, then gave way to the thought of a lineup with two of the most formidable all-around hitters in baseball.

“It’s crazy to think about him and Cabrera hitting next to each other in the lineup,” Jackson said. ‘You do those type of things on MLB2K or something. You never really see two hitters like that get a chance to hit on the same team.

“It’s going to be a very interesting season. I think everybody’s pumped up to get going.”

The news that the Tigers had signed Fielder to a nine-year, $214 million contract sent shock waves around baseball, but it sent excitement around Detroit. Tigers players were no different. Some likely realized it was a possibility, but most didn’t know at all.

“No,” Kelly said. “I mean, everybody was under the impression that it wasn’t a real good fit from what Prince was looking for and what the Tigers were looking to do. But obviously, it ended up [working out].”

Jackson compared it to a holiday gift.

“To be honest with you, I thought it was a long shot,” he said. “I think myself and a lot of other people were probably putting it on a wish list. You think about things like that. You think about what a guy like him could contribute to this team, but you always think those things are long shots. When it actually happened, it was like, ‘All right, I can see this team is really serious about moving in the right direction.”

Miguel Cabrera, the man Fielder is expected to move out from first base, had an idea it was a possibility. He told Venezuelan reporter Marfa Mata that the Tigers had approached him during last week’s winter caravan to let him know it was a possibility and to see how he felt about it, including the possibility of changing positions.

Not only was Cabrera on board, he was excited.

“Some people forget that this is my [old] position, third base,” Mata quotes Cabrera, translated through Google. “I want a better team.”

So do most of the Tigers, even those whose roles might be impacted. Kelly was looking at a potential platoon role at third base going into the season, the kind of set role he hasn’t had in the big leagues. If Cabrera moves to third, there’s a good chance that changes.

That wasn’t among Kelly’s chief concerns Tuesday night.

“Looking at it, when you have a team and you can add a guy like Prince Fielder to that team, your team’s obviously going to be better,” he said.

Even Tigers who haven’t made it to Detroit yet were looking forward to the possibility. Top pitching prospect Jacob Turner was heading into the season looking to compete for the fifth spot in the Tigers rotation. His run support picture now looks much different. He retweeted the news almost as soon as it hit Twitter.

Fellow Tigers pitching prospect Drew Smyly, who’s expected to compete for the same rotation spot, learned about his new teammate soon afterwards.

“That’s one hell of an offense,” he tweeted.

32 Comments

I suggest they play Jackson at 9th in the lineup, and I bet he responds. Then maybe move him up to the 2 hole or something. The guy is not ready for leadoff, and seems to be thinking too much about it. Great player. Not leadoff caliber. Not even with PF and MC in the lineup.

Do you really think that Cabby is going to be playing much 3rd this year and maybe just learning the position? He and Prince can switch in and out of 1st and Dh and when Brandons contract is up after this year then the might move him over oce Caby has a chance to work om it!

It’s a good point GK and I was thinking the same thing. I think they are going to play Miggy exclusively at 3rd all spring long and find out if he is ready for that role. If that works out, it creates many options for them. If they dont have to use either Prince or Miggy at DH regularly, it gives them the option of using Young there more regularly. I think we may have a good leadoff hitter in the organization already who I would like to see them try but only if they can fit Miggy, Prince and Young in the lineup together. And that only happens if Miggy can defend 3rd.
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My lineup
Dirks, lf
Boesch, rf (he is going to get nothing but fastballs)
Cabrera, 3b (pick your poison)
Fielder, 1b
Young, dh (could have huge RBI year)
Avila, c
Peralta, ss (Mr Reliable — not a bad 7th hitter)
Santiago, 2b (against both hands of pitching … we need his defense everyday now)
Jackson, cf (just relax, be aggressive and play your defense)
Bench: Kelly, Laird, Raburn, and somebody else — trade (if possible) or release Inge)
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Who else is wondering when the first grumblings are going to come out of the Inge camp about wanting to be traded? He did it in 2004 and he did it again in 2008.
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I am so excited.
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Go Tigers.
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– Bob

This is all such big news. I am concerned though about Miggy at 3rd and Fielder at 1st – I think our bunt defense is not going to be as good as it could be but I hope I am proven wrong. It is a good problem to have, trying to fit 2 big guns into the lineup!

I think the bunt defense is overrated a bit. This is the AL after all. And if we are scoring runs and getting leads, the opposition is not going to be doing much bunting anyway. The point has been made on here already that Miggy moved from 3rd because Gullen could not get his feet right at first; not that MIggy was a disaster at 3rd. Obviously, he is not going to win a gold glove at 3rd. But we now have 2 game changing hitters entering their prime ages in an already good lineup with developing players (Boesch and Avila) around them.
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I still cannot believe this.
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Go Tigers
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– Bob

Good point about Dirks but I feel the outfield will often consist of Young and Boesch and AJ. In which case I would be playing Young in RF and Boesch to cover the acreage in left. Delmon has a strong arm and would be able to keep some runners from going to 3rd from 1st. Not quite as much territory to cover out there. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Austin Jackson on the trade:
“You do those type of things on MLB2K or something”
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Best line of the day.

Not that it matters, but our team actually just got slower. The big guys better hit the long ball like they are supposed to! I hope someone works with AJ in the spring, they simply must turn him loose this year and get him into scoring position.

Wanna break this down to ya’ll:
OVER the past 2 seasons
(Cabby/Prince)
ABs: 1120/1147
2B: 93/61
HR: 68/70
BA: .337/.280
SO:KK ratio: .93/1.1
OBP: .434/.408
SLG: .604/.518
Gr.Dbl.Play: 41/29
Int.BB: 54/49

So i think it is clear prince will be protecting cabby. the question is which right hander will be protecting Prince? Delmon (power) or Peralta (contact)?

Whoever it is will be better than the guy Milwaukee had doing it last season. Remains to be seen if we do more transactions, too.
I think the protection business is more about reputation than anything. They put Cabrera on to pitch to Victor which was foolish, but Victor didn’t seem as scarey.

What I’m wondering is when Victor had his exam (if he had it yet) in relationship to pulling the trigger on this signing.

Still feels like it took my breath away. I will never erase that text message on my cell. It absolutely jolted me.
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There will be lots of things to work out and things might be rough for a while. We must not forget 2008 when we thought we had the tiger by the tail. I don’t believe that will happen, though. Almost every Tiger fan remembers little Prince and loved Cecil. My son was mesmerized by Cecil. I still just can hardly believe it.
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And, I still miss Victor and will miss seeing little Victor. I want him to finish his contract in Detroit.
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Have some fun watching this, folks.
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http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=19742081

Yeah Rich. I love it. I can get used to that. I am not as concerned about the dimensions of Comerica as some are pointing out. Prince’s bombs go out anywhere. I am curious if he can hit the Pepsi sign in right or one of the cars in centre field ;)
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Go Tigers.
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– Bob

Miguel

http://www.liderendeportes.com/Noticias/Beisbol/Miguel-Cabrera—Queria-volver-a-la-tercera-.aspx
I wanted to go back to 3B
I will be at third base what will give more balance to the lineup….I was told that was probable that i would go back to 3B and I need to be ready
The adquisition was talked among us all, we wanted it. Another player we needed and hopefully the season will go well for us

My translation

Well if you consider Prince as replacing VMart then we actually got considerably faster, not slower. Prince runs pretty well for a guy with his stature and physique. VMart and the “running” may actually be a contradiction in terms. VMart was slow before his injury and slower than that after. Not complaining though. He did an absolutely wonderful job for this team last year.

Agree with slowbryne on that one!
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I just talked to a friend who is a Brewer fan, and he said Prince might be able to put up cabrera numbers with VMART backing him up. Are Peralta/Young/Avila able to back up Prince, do you think?

e.g. by committee….could they do what VMART did last year?

Commenting on the twitter comment no jason’s account asking Jason to remind his loyal followers about last time DET fans had high hopes:
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I think the tigers are a better team when they are playing to prove something. 2007 taught me that, and d*mn I hope the ESPN and MLB commentators poo-poo this whole Prince + Det thing – because again, I think the tigers NEED something to prove or they will only prove they didn’t learn a lesson in 2007.

It was 2008. This is an entirely different scenario. Renteria was vastly overrated by some media and our own management, Sheffield had been finished after his collision in 2007, Guillen was beginning to fade physically, and Jacques Jones fell apart (I won’t go into why that may have been). Not to mention the 2008 club didn’t have half the pitching staff we have now. I expected that club to fail, and it’s on record here on this blog.
Did we just punch a ticket to the postseason? No. Many things have to go right for that to happen, no matter how much talent a team has. Do we have an excellent chance and a team worth watching? Absolutely. Let’s not go all Yankees here. This should be a fun season and we still have a goal that hasn’t been met.

mmmm i’m not doubting you… but we did have granderson, polanco, maggs, cabby, carlos, pudge, sheffield, country strong and edgar renteria. that was looking like a gnarly lineup!!

In the final game of spring training , Granderson was hit and injured by a Phillie´s pitcher.
The first two weeks they were without him.
Gary Sheffield as mentioned already was suffering from the collision with Polanco.
Polanco was having ,again, back problems.
Cabrera was learning to play 1B.
Guillen was bouncing from one position to another.
Pudge asked to be traded so Inge ended as catcher. Ant they got Farnsworth….
Bondo was recovering from surgery.
Country Strong was also injured.
The few pitchers not injured in 2007 ended in DL that years. Even Todd Jones had problems in his arm.
And the wrong strategy of conditioning for Verlander caused his worst season .

And Rogers was coming back from surgery too. They had a good rotation but inuries ruined two of them

true. And just as many things could go wrong this year. A lot of the things you mentioned hadn’t gone wrong yet in late January of 2008.
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And for that matter pudge batted very well 4 the 80 something games he played and polanco played ~141 games that year…..

Amigo, I must say, you sure know your stuff! Be nice to see the Detroit Tigers play an exhibition game down in your neighbourhood!

I’ll co-sign that. El Tigre, you have an outstanding memory for all this.
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Not sure what you’re getting at, Evan. There could also be a bus accident going to a split squad game. If it’s “don’t count your chickens” I agree with you. What bothered me going into 2008, however, is what I saw in spring training. Something was missing. Wrong attitude, maybe. I just know I booked an overseas trip for October while most people expected a WS in Detroit.

well in general i just felt that when expectations are high -> our team disappointed. I hope that doesn’t happen this year.

Did you know: both Prince and Cabby are noticeably better against righties than lefties?
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So i took a look at the options of batters behind Prince and Cabby, again from a splits perspective:
1. Jhonny (re: 3yr avg. stats) and Alex (re: 2011 stats) hit righties better/harder
2. Delmon (re: 3yr avg. stats) and Brennan (re: 2011 stats) hit lefties very well (.820ish OPS) tho
3. Brennan I would rather bat b4 cabby/prince because of his speed.
4.Thus i’d bat Delmon behind Prince/Cabby

I don’t know how El Tigre does it Dan. I forgot what I had for lunch today.

Also histotically prince is a pre allstar guy, and cabby a post allstar guy.
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and cabby has hit poorly in october (very poorly) but prince has hit his typical nasty self.

Stopped at the grocery to pick up a Free Press or Det News while I still could find one (got the last Freep) and saw a magazine featuring Verlander on the cover: Lindys Sports Baseball. Had to buy that and there it was in the first few pages with Pujols on one page and Prince on the other…about their skills and what they bring to a franchise. Some parts of the article quote Boras (yea, I know Evan) and I’m telling you that man is a real salesman. His binder on Prince had 9 sections with one of them titled “Built Fielder Tough” , a tribute to playing nearly every game. “The real issue is does a team need a young franchise core player? Boras said. “These players have so much value to you. They increase your attendance. They also allow your ownership to retain ancillary players at a greater rate because those players want to stay and play on a good team with a core player like that.” “He’s not even at his peak yet. He has Albert Puhols type numbers, and those aren’t even his premium years. You’re definitely going to have something that is a rarity in the game because he’s so young and you can project five years ahead. Normally, when someone is a free agent, you’re not getting that many prime years.” The article also has quotes from Braun about his work ethic and comments from his wife, Chanel, that he is all about winning; all about the team.
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Another core player that will extend a competitive team for years. I hope all of the team embraces him because he will help take them to a World Series.

The player I’m going to target in Fantasy Baseball this year — Brennan Boesch!
Can you imagine the straight cheese he’s going to see?

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