The Detroit Tigers made big headlines this offseason by signing free-agent slugger Prince Fielder.
Fielder surprised a lot of people by signing a nine-year, $254 million contract with the Tigers. The deal was unexpected as the Tigers were not one of the teams thought to be interested a long-term contract with Fielder.
His signing helps to fill the void left by injured designated hitter Victor Martinez, whose injury cast a lot of doubt on the Tiger’s upcoming season.
“I was very excited [about the Fielder signing], we did pay him a lot of money but we do need more hitters on the team,” said Rebecca Satawa, Royal Oak senior. “His fielding could use some work but I am definitely excited to have a better hitter in the line up.”
Fielder has been one of the most productive big bats in Major League baseball of late, hitting the second most home runs since 2007 only behind Ryan Howard. Fielder’s numbers and production are exciting for the Tigers and their fans, but his salary is somewhat of a risk.
“Signing a player to that long of a contract, especially in baseball, is risky because baseball players have their ups and downs,” said Matt LeFevre, Canton sophomore. “Nine years is a long time and with Victor Martinez out it could be a little rough, but when he returns, we will have the best hitting trio in Major League Baseball.”
Martinez tore is anterior cruciate ligament last year during off-season workouts. He has undergone micro fracture surgery and will receive surgery to fix his ACL in the next six to eight weeks, putting his season to an almost certain end.
Martinez was among the top three Tigers in runs batted in, batting average and total runs with 103, .330 and 76 respectively.
“I think that they have a chance to make it to the World Series this year but I don’t know if they can win it all,” said Alex Padilla, Grosse Pointe first year. “It all depends on what happens if and when Martinez returns; if they can maintain a solid lineup upon his return they have a really good shot.
Fans and experts alike have the Tigers winning the American League central division with little difficulty and subsequently making it to the playoffs. What happens in the playoffs is anyone’s guess.
“We’ll just have to wait and see how the season plays out,” said Satawa.