Fielder Follows Father’s Footsteps, Foregoes Flushing

For the second consecutive day, the Mets are left holding the bag.

Still smarting from being spurned by Cody Ross the Mets received another blow when , Prince Fielder passed on the Mets’ flirtations and instead signed a 9-year deal with Detroit — the city where his father Cecil enjoyed 6 1/2 standout seasons after a stint in Japan.

The good news, however, is that now Ike Davis doesn’t have to worry about re-learning left field, a position he played frequently during his college career.

The Mets were seen as a frontrunner if Prince Fielder limited his marketplace to baseball teams in Flushing. Further, the Mets made clear that Prince would be welcomed with open arms if he were willing to sign on their terms (rumor had it that the Mets’ offer consisted of a one-year, non-guaranteed, $550K contract with the option to go straight to the front of the line at the Shake Shack between innings).

In all seriousness, this surprising signing by the Tigers changes things beyond Detroit. For one, the NL has now lost arguably its top three sluggers over the last year — Fielder, Albert Pujols, and Adrian Gonzalez — in turn collectively lowering the danger quotient of NL hitters. I would be curious to see a stathead figure out if there is any kind of impact on NL pitching performance as a result of these exits — has anyone done this kind of study? For example, will NL pitchers’ WHIPs and ERAs in general go down because they no longer have to deal with these other-worldly sluggers — and, can pitch around the dangerous hitters who remain?

In regard to the latter part of that sentence, here’s an interesting comparison: in 2011, Ryan Braun was intentionally walked TWICE, and has been given a free pass only 9 times in the five years he’s hit behind Prince Fielder. It’s presumed that Fielder will now hit behind Miguel Cabrera, who was intentionally walked 22 times in 2011 and 32 times in 2010. Go ahead — let your head spin considering what Cabrera might do in 2012, with hurlers having to pitch to him.

Random thought: it’s a bizarre winter when two of the top 5 sluggers in all of MLB are free agents, and the biggest of the big markets — New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco — are not in the bidding. OK, there was some noise from the Cubs but was there really any substance to that?

Perhaps the best thing about Prince Fielder going to Detroit is that he didn’t go to another team in the NL East. Though, it depends upon your perspective — as a pure baseball fan, I’ll miss not seeing him play against the Mets and performing like a man among boys.

What’s your thought? Did the Mets mess up their rebuilding plan by not going harder after Prince? Are you happy to see him out of the NL? Does this mean Mike Pelfrey‘s ERA will go down? (Fielder hit .455 with a 1.318 OPS vs. Big Pelf in his career.) Post your reaction in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Brian January 25, 2012 at 9:49 am
    Mets were never going after Prince so this isn’t a blow at all.

    And the contract is way too big. If the Mets were a contender, I’d say maybe it’d worth it, but the Mets aren’t even close. By the time the Mets are able to contend, Prince might not be worth anything near what he’s getting.


    • Mike B January 25, 2012 at 10:21 pm
      Pass??? He is 28, so you are saying the mets wont be good for 8-10 years? The reason the Mets arent contenders is because they dont have players like Prince.

      Here is a newsflash for some of the people on here:

      A gallon of milk is around 4 bucks, A pack of smokes is 8 bucks depending on the state. And an all star baseball player will cost you about 20 million a year. I am not interested in watching my team build up prospect and trade them or lose them to FA. So at some point the Mets are going to have to open there wallets.

  2. Dan B January 25, 2012 at 10:21 am
    Joe — be careful! You could hurt yourself with your tongue so far in your cheek. With Fielder gone, those Brewers games got a lot more boring.
  3. Anthony Marte January 25, 2012 at 10:25 am
    The Mets can’t afford Prince Fielder. But it’s great that he left the National League. With Gonzalez, Pujols, and Fielder gone the NL is a little more pitcher friendly. The Cardinals and the Brewers are weaker now.

    I wish it was as simple as “remove player A from league, player B does better,” but its not. Pelfrey and the rest of the Mets pitching staff have to put in the work and get better if they hope to have some success in 2012. Last year, the staff allowed the 8th most HR, the 9th most walks, and 10th most strikeouts. Those pitcher independent numbers have to improve for the Mets to win more games.

    Somehow I hope the departure of Fielder and Pujols translates into a couple more wins for the Mets, but for the most part the pitching needs to get better on its own.

  4. TeufelFan January 25, 2012 at 11:19 am
    Since when is Los Angeles not one of the “biggest of the big” markets?
    • JoeBourgeois January 25, 2012 at 11:48 am
      SF a bigger market than LA? Really?

      And Prince could have very easily ended up in DC. I’d say this was good news for the Mets.

      • Joe Janish January 25, 2012 at 2:09 pm
        Thanks … suddenly I feel like Peter Gibbons in Office Space … yes, I got the memo … LA is among the big markets and yes the Dodgers also didn’t sniff on Pujols nor Fielder.
    • Joe Janish January 25, 2012 at 2:07 pm
      You’re right, I forgot to include Los Angeles … maybe it has something to do with me wanting to forget the whole McCourts thing. My bad! Thanks for pointing that out.

      And while we’re at it, Philadelphia also qualifies among the “biggest of the big markets”.

  5. Joe January 25, 2012 at 12:40 pm
    These long contracts repeatedly have bit teams in the ass and this one has the makings of it too. Overall, it’s good for the Mets, since he’s out of the NL.
  6. Paul Festa January 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm
    Prince moving to the AL certainly can’t hurt. Wonder if this will emphasize the whole “Prince is estranged from his Dad” melodrama?
  7. mic January 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm
    I am beginning to wonder how sad your Mother must be that you did not pursue a career as a poet. Surely a Nobel Laurette would have been well within your reach.
    • Joe Janish January 25, 2012 at 11:45 pm
      Mic, I appreciate your comment.

      As I’m sure you already are aware, the money to be made in poetry cannot hold a candle to the potentially dozens of dollars a year that can be made blogging.

      There it is, I admit it — I chase The Almighty Dollar, and forsaking my art. Shameful …

  8. JoeD1966 January 25, 2012 at 4:03 pm
    When are these teams going to learn to stop bidding against themselves.What other team was giving him a 9 year deal where the Tigers felt that’s what it would take to get a deal done.Offense is not their problem.They could’ve replaced V-Mart for one year with a much cheaper and much much shorter term deal.They would’ve been better off going after Reyes and moving Peralta to 3rd.
  9. DaveSchneck January 25, 2012 at 4:40 pm
    I’ve got to hand it to Boras, once again he got his client a crazy payday. These big commitments make the Mets look even more minor league in regards to the Reyes negotiations. In the short term, it’s good that Fielder did not land in DC. especially for Bog Pelf. Longer term, like when the Mets get back to being a major league franchise, that big money saddling a divisional opponent would actually benefit the Mets. Regarding Big Pelf, his prioriy should be finding a way to get outs against NL East teams first, especially on the road, as his numbers in those splits are so ugly you need to be near a bathroom when having a look. Anyway, as each days goes by we are getting closer to that Chris Young signing.
  10. Glenn January 25, 2012 at 7:28 pm
    Mike Pelfrey has this one year good, one year bad thing going. I think when he has a bad year he makes adjustments and then goes out and has a good year. Then the league adjusts to his adjustments and he has a bad year again. The best pitchers constantly adjust but Pelfrey doesn’t seem able or willing to do that. I think this year he has a good year but the Mets should use that good year to trade him away rather than pay what will be an inflated price for his services.
  11. Stan January 25, 2012 at 8:54 pm
    Maybe the Mets could hire Boras to help sell shares in the team.
  12. Josh Z January 25, 2012 at 10:50 pm
    The Mets were never in it, i doubt they even spoke with his agent, he wasn’t stolen if they weren’t trying
    • Joe Janish January 25, 2012 at 11:49 pm
      Josh, you are correct. However, consider the possibility that this post was meant to be facetious.
  13. Mike B January 26, 2012 at 7:46 am
    I am not saying that Joe J is hysterical with his attempt at humor at the Mets expense but who are these people that think this was serious???? I have misread or misunderstood stuff in the past but…..

    rumor had it that the Mets’ offer consisted of a one-year, non-guaranteed, $550K contract with the option to go straight to the front of the line at the Shake Shack between innings).

  14. Stan January 26, 2012 at 9:30 am
    No…the Shake Shack offer was real and did get Fielder interested. He also wanted Burger King rights thrown in and that, from what I heard, sank the deal.
  15. MLB Ballparks January 30, 2012 at 1:13 am
    This was a good deal for both the Tigers and Prince. If his numbers and defense start to decline as he ages, he can hit for the DH toward year 7. Kind of the same thing the Angels were going for Pujols but they overpaid for a guy who is already showing a decline in statistics.
  16. mic February 1, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Once upon time in a bygone era there were 3 prospects named Wilson, Pulsipher and Isringhausen. At about the same time….NO ONE would come to the Mets, Biggio turned em down, Chris Sabo, David Wells ….We had to get David Segui. …In that same once upon a time there was a slugger named Cecil Fielder, who as the ppost says would not come near Flushing……Heck dwight Goodens nephew was distancing himself…..

    As the world turns ….Joe is right, different generation same sad scenerio.