Prince Fielder didn’t need too much time to waive his no-trade clause and accept a trade to the Texas Rangers.
The five-time All-Star viewed it as an opportunity for a fresh start after last season ended poorly in Detroit with him hitting only .225, and with no home runs or RBIs in the postseason. He also felt it was in the best interest of everyone involved, with the Tigers receiving three-time All-Star Ian Kinsler in return.
“I didn’t think it was going to be a bad thing,” Fielder said during a brief conference call Thursday. “Plus, I thought it’d be good for everyone. So I just wanted everyone to be happy.”
Fielder, who spent only two years with the Tigers after signing a nine-year, $214 million contract prior to the 2012 season, brings an immediate presence to the middle of the Rangers’ lineup, and the team is banking on him and Adrian Beltre forming a nice 3-4 punch on a daily basis.
Rangers Ballpark has historically suited left-handed power hitters, as well, which intrigues Fielder and the Rangers.
“I’m pretty excited about it, actually,” said Fielder, who has four home runs and four doubles in 49 career at-bats in Texas. “I think it’ll be great.”
The 29-year-old Fielder later posted on his Twitter account: “Excited to join the @Rangers and play in front of all those fans! #rightfieldbeready.”
Fielder is coming off a down year in which he posted career-lows in home runs (25), slugging percentage (.457), on-base plus slugging percentage (.819) and double play grounders (20). He also dealt with personal issues, filing for divorce from his wife of eight years during the season.
But Fielder didn’t want to delve into his struggles last season, saying simply: “If I would’ve known, I would’ve stopped it.”
With that being said, Fielder still finished the season with 25 home runs and 106 RBIs, one of only 12 players with at least 25 homers and 100 RBIs. He also played in all 162 games for a third consecutive season, and is the game’s active leader in consecutive games played with 505.
Fielder takes pride in being one of the iron men in the game, and doesn’t feel the Texas heat will affect him in a bad way. In fact, Fielder said the heat should be a good thing later on in the season to keep his muscles loose.
Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras, also feels that Texas is a good spot for Fielder. He called Fielder an “MVP maker,” as he’s batted behind three consecutive MVP winners — Miguel Cabrera the past two seasons with the Tigers and Ryan Braun in 2011 with the Brewers.
Boras wouldn’t be surprised if Fielder helps another one of his clients, Beltre, reach that level.
“Prince Fielder’s legacy will be one where he’s been a part of so many formidable 3-4 tandems with Braun, Cabrera and now Beltre,” Boras said. “Prince and the Rangers are a great fit, and I think he has the potential to be a Hall of Fame player, given his age and ability.”