MLB Offseason: Does Prince Fielder Make the Detroit Tigers Unstoppable?

Christopher Czar@@detsportsczarContributor IJanuary 24, 2012

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 14:  Prince Fielder #28 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks on against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Five of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium on October 14, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Bad news, Tigers fans—I guess the Detroit Tigers are officially out of the Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes before it even happened.

The reason why isn't bad news, however.

Prince Fielder has reportedly signed a nine-year, $214 million contract to be the Tigers' every-day first baseman, with the Tigers' current MVP-caliber first baseman Miguel Cabrera agreeing to a position change.

It would appear that a move back to third base—where he played with the Florida Marlins—would be the most likely change for Cabrera.

Fielder's signing probably wouldn't have happened if DH Victor Martinez hadn't have torn his ACL in offseason workouts earlier this month.

While speculation ran rampant that the Tigers would pursue lower priced free agents such as Johnny Damon or Carlos Lee—Tiger owner Mike Illitch, as he's prone to do, went with the best replacement possible.

The signing of Fielder gives the Tigers three $20 million-a-year-plus players, but also perhaps three of the 10 best players in baseball in Fielder, Cabrera and Cy Young winner and AL MVP Justin Verlander.

While Fielder would substantially improve any team, he should make the Tigers the World Series favorites, leapfrogging the Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees in the American League.

And it isn't like the the Tigers are a three-horse team either, they also have bona fide major-league talent in starters Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcell, relievers Octavio Dotel, Joaquin Benoit and closer Jose Valverde and position players Jhonny Peralta, Austin Jackson, Alex Avila, Brennan Boesch and Delmon Young.

In addition, since it appears Illitch is all in with the Tigers, he could conceivably task GM Dave Dombrowski with dealing some of the team's top prospects in order to obtain a fifth starter or a second baseman.

Starters Jacob Turner and third baseman Nick Castellanos are among the top 50 prospects in baseball and could be used as bargaining chips for those pieces.

Fielder's signing in Detroit also marks a reunion for the 27-year-old slugger.  Prince was a mainstay in the Tigers locker room while his father, Cecil Fielder, was an All-Star first baseman in the early 1990s for Detroit.

While Fielder will enjoy a reunion with his childhood team, his signing might also mean a reunion with a World Series title for the storied Detroit Tigers franchise.

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