The Tigers reached the World Series two seasons ago and the ALCS last season with Fielder on the roster. He still had seven years and $168 million left on the original 9-year contract he signed with them before the 2012 season. He also protected Miguel Cabrera in the lineup and gave the Tigers a devastating 1-2 punch in the middle of the order.
So why did Detroit decide to deal Fielder? There are multiple explanations.
1) Fielder had a sub-par season last year. His 25 home runs and .819 OPS were his worst marks since his rookie season. He hit just .225 without driving in a run in 11 postseason games. In 24 career postseason games with the Tigers, Prince only had one home run and three RBIs. Maybe his poor postseason performance convinced the Tigers he was expendable.
2) Fielder’s casual attitude after the Tigers were eliminated from the playoffs didn’t sit well with the organization, per Buster Olney. Let’s just say Prince didn’t take the playoff loss quite as hard as the fans.
“You have to be a man about it,” Fielder said. “I have kids. If I’m sitting around pouting about it, how am I going to tell them to keep their chins or keep their heads up when something doesn’t go their way? It’s over.
“It isn’t really tough, man, for me [to move on]. It’s over. I have kids I have to take care of, so, for me it’s over, bro.”
Told fans may be upset to hear him shake off a disappointing loss so quickly, Fielder said: “They don’t play.”
3) Trading Fielder allows Cabrera to move back to first.