MLB 2012: Fielder Decides on Tigers and Tim Lincecum Settles with SF Giants

Michael JakubowskiCorrespondent IJanuary 24, 2012

MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 16:  Prince Fielder #28 of the Milwaukee Brewers bats against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Six of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 16, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Prince Fielder signed a massive contract today, deciding to go with the Detroit Tigers for his new home. Sources say that Fielder has signed a nine-year, $214 million dollar contract for the start of the 2012 season.

That puts Fielder at an average of just over $23.7 million per year. Fielder's per-year average is almost on par with Albert Pujols's $24 million per year, who is one of the only four who make more per year than Fielder (Alex Rodriguez, Cliff Lee and Ryan Howard). 

So what does this mean for the Detroit Tigers?

The boost in power would have been a little more significant if Victor Martinez was to be healthy for the 2012 season. Martinez tore his ACL during workouts this winter, most likely ending his 2012 season even before pitchers and catchers report.

Fielder will, at this point, replace the missing power of Victor Martinez and add a little more pop. Fielder joins fellow Detroit power-hitter Miguel Cabrera to strengthen an already well hitting Tigers offense. Unless the Twins rebound in 2012, no team in the AL Central should be able to keep up with the Tigers in the upcoming season.

What is amazing to think about is that Prince Fielder is in a contract with the Tigers until the end of the 2020 season. It's hard to even think that far forward in the baseball world. Given the questions regarding Fielder's physical shape currently, it will be interesting to see if Fielder can stay healthy and live up to his contract, or if we will see the curse of the large contract, as seen in Alfonso Soriano.

Given that Fielder was the last big hitting free agent on the market, it looks like Theo Epstein and the Cubs will need to wait a little longer before making their first big move to improve their lackluster offense.

With Fielder signing his contract today, it looks as if Tim Lincecum will mostly go unnoticed in today's news. Lincecum and the Giants finally came to agreement today, with Lincecum agreeing to a 2-year, $40.5 million dollar extension.

Lincecum will make $18 million in 2012 and $22 million in 2013, and the deal includes a $500,000 signing bonus. The $20.25 million average per year is an increase of $7.15 million from his 2011 salary ($13.1 mil).

Lincecum is coming off of a 13-14 season while posting a 2.74 ERA, which showcases the lack of run support Lincecum had throughout the 2011 season. One can only hope that the Giants find their offense again in 2012, bringing Lincecum back to a winning record like he is accustomed to.

So, with two free agent giants being locked down on this Tuesday in January, you have to ask yourself: Would you rather have Prince Fielder or Tim Lincecum?