The local news media is pretty hyped up about the Texas Rangers trade that brought first basemen Prince Fielder to the team.
He’s a guy who hits the ball hard and stays healthy, the sentiment goes.
But this FOX Sports story about the trade includes this paragraph: “Fielder hit .279 with 25 homers this year. He drove in 106 runs, but it was his lowest home run total over a full season. He did not have a single RBI in the 2013 postseason and hit .182 in the ALCS.”
So the Rangers will end up paying $138 million over the next seven years for a 29-year-old guy who is no great shakes on defense, hit only 25 homers last season, and then tanked in the post season?
First off, the Rangers paid too much. Big-bodied guys like Fielder wear out sooner than smaller guys. He’ll be in his mid-30s by the time the contract runs out, and most likely be unproductive dead weight by then with a salary that keeps the team from making other deals.
Fielder weighs close to 300 pounds, and his history of not missing games will be tested severely when he tries to play a full season in Texas, where summers can bring endless stretches of 100-degree weather.
And Fielder is not known as a high-contact hitter. He swings big and often misses big (a 279 average means he gets a hit about once every four times at the plate). The Rangers have enough of those kind of all-or-nothing hitters, which is why Yu Darvish can pitch like the second coming of Cy Young, maintain a 2.83 ERA in 2013 — and yet go 13-9 for the season.