A Story of MLB Free Agency: Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols
Thursday July 26th, 2012
John Burns: Two of baseball biggest sluggers Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder both signed $200 million plus contracts this offseason when they hit free agency. Pujols was the first of the two sluggers to sign. On December 10th, 2011, Pujols signed a ten-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, worth around $254 million. It was speculated around the winter meeting that Pujols could join the Miami Marlins who emerged as early favorites for Pujols. Albert could have easily been a Marlin right now if it wasn’t for Miami not granting Pujols a no-trade clause. As for Prince Fielder he waited until late January to sign. Fielder ended up signing a nine-year, $214 million contract with the Detroit Tigers. Both Fielder and Pujols shocked the baseball world by signing with teams that you would have never expected to see either of them play for. But that is part of the beauty of this game. You never know what will happen.
Pujols got off to a miserable start of the season, as he only hit .217 through April and had been homerless in his first 92 at-bats with the Angels. Many fans and even experts were starting to say that it was a bad contract already and rightfully so since he was not producing. Then there were people like me who believed that Pujols was just too good to be in a slump beyond April. Pujols did end up breaking out of his funk and his stats as of right now are: .277, 18 homers, 61 RBIs. With Mike Trout in the lineup Pujols has excelled, hitting .333 with 9 homers and 20 RBIs in his last 30 games. It has also been proven that Pujols has been hitting better on the road this season with .294 average compared to his .259 at home. He has played below expectations for the Angels after signing that monster contract; but he is starting to turn it around and could lead the Angels to a playoff run.
Prince Fielder on the other hand has really been the complete opposite of Pujols. Fielder started off hot and is still having a great season. When Prince signed the nine-year deal just like Pujols everyone is expecting great season to come and Fielder has proven that by making an all-star game this season and winning the home run derby. With arguably one of the best 1-2 punches in baseball with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, the Tigers started off slow but have since picked it up. Detroit now is only a half game behind the the Chicago White Sox for the A.L. Central lead with a 53-46 record. Like I said Fielder has been producing all season long and is hitting .307 with 15 homers and 68 RBIs. Fielder’s home run numbers are down, but he is hitting over .300 which would be the first time in his career if he can finish with the season over .300. Fielder has performed right around the expectation level from the Tigers and is one of the main reasons why they are so competitive in the A.L. Central.
Overall both of these signings have proven to be great for this season. But if you look at the number of years involved with each deal, that is the main concern with each. Pujols is currently 32 years of age and signed a 10-year deal with the Angels. So Pujols will be 42 when the contract is up. How many 42 year olds do you know that are producing at the Major league level? Exactly… and it’s not like L.A. can get out of the contract because he has a no trade clause. One should note though that Pujols is in the A.L. now, so he could DH when is in his upper 30’s which could mean he could still produce. Fielder who is 28 and signed a nine-year deal is a little different because Fielder has played a complete MLB season worth of games twice in his career and has never played under 157 games in a full season. Just like Pujols, Prince is in the A.L. so when he gets older he can play DH which will ultimately help his offensive stats by not playing the field full-time. Angels and Tigers fans are in for a treat for the next few years with these two sluggers locked up for the future. Don’t be surprised if these two end up meeting in the playoffs come this October.
***John Burns- MLB reports Intern: I am a highschool junior, play 1st base and catcher. I am a diehard Phillies fan. I was born in Philadelphia but now live in Virginia. I come from a huge baseball family and just love the game. My cousin was drafted by the New York Mets in the 2008 MLB draft. My favorite players are Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz, and Ryan Howard. I tweet all the time and you can follow me on twitter (@JohnBurns_MLB)***
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Posted on July 26, 2012, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged al, al central, AL West, albert pujols, angels, baseball, contract, detroit tigers, fielder, free agency, Home Runs, los angeles angels, mlb, playoffs, prince fielder, sluggers, tigers, worldseries. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.