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Adrian Beltre thinks Prince Fielder will win AL MVP

Prince Fielder Rangers

Trading for Prince Fielder was one of the notable additions the Texas Rangers made this offseason, and Adrian Beltre thinks the acquisition will pay off in a big way.

The Rangers third baseman said at a team awards banquet Friday that he believes Fielder will win AL MVP this season, ESPN Dallas’ Richard Durrett reports.

Fielder has finished in the top five in MVP voting three times, including two third-place finishes while with the Milwaukee Brewers. Fielder had a down season by his standards last year in Detroit, which is part of the reason the Tigers sent him to Texas in exchange for Ian Kinsler. Prince’s 25 home runs, .362 on-base percentage and 75 walks were his lowest marks since his first full season in the bigs back in 2006.

But if you thought Prince was part of a stacked lineup the last two seasons with the Tigers — and he was — the Rangers will likely match it.

Texas has Beltre, Elvis Andrus, and free agent Shin-Soo Choo set to join Prince as the team’s 1-4 hitters. Alex Rios is another strong hitter, Mitch Moreland has pop as a utility man, and Jurickson Profar has a world of talent. Having a change of scenery and playing in a friendlier ballpark for left-handed hitters, I’m expecting a big season from Prince. Will it be enough for him to win AL MVP? Maybe not, but he’ll be in the mix.

Prince Fielder: ‘I sucked’ last season

Prince FielderPrince Fielder is welcoming the opportunity for a fresh start now that he has been traded to the Texas Rangers. The remarkably durable slugger appeared in 162 games in each of his two seasons with the Detroit Tigers, but he was not happy with a 2013 season in which he hit .279 with 25 home runs and 106 RBI.

“Everybody was on me a little bit about my performance, rightfully so,” Fielder said at his news conference on Monday, via ESPNDallas.com. “I sucked. I didn’t have to be reminded of it. Hopefully, we can make some memories here.”

Fielder’s on-base percentage (.362) and slugging percentage (.457) were down from previous seasons, although his batting average, home run total and RBI total were right around his career mark. As Rangers GM Jon Daniels said, the team will gladly take those numbers if that’s what sucking is.

“That’s a pretty good year for sucking,” Daniels said. “A guy of his magnitude, a perennial MVP candidate and one of the top power hitters in the game, isn’t available if he’s coming off a career year. Based on the work we’ve done and our reports on him, we’re confident there’s a lot more in the tank.”

[Related: Explaining why Prince Fielder was traded by the Tigers]

Just 29 years old, Fielder should have plenty of good seasons left. Where he has really frustrated fans is in the postseason. Fielder hit .225 in the playoffs this year and was virtually useless in the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox. He did not have a single home run or an RBI in 11 playoff games in 2013. He hit just one home run and drove in three runs during his two postseasons with Detroit.

Simply put, there is no way Fielder is going to earn the back end of his nine-year, $214 million contract in the regular season. If he can’t find a way to hit in October, it won’t matter if he hits 50 home runs each season he is with the Rangers. Maybe the warm weather year-round will help him stay hot late in the season.

Explaining why Prince Fielder was traded by the Detroit Tigers

Prince FielderThe Detroit Tigers on Wednesday agreed to trade Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler, a deal that Fielder agreed to by waiving his limited no-trade clause.

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.

[Read more...]

Report: Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler trade agreed to

Prince Fielder TigersThe Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers have agreed to a blockbuster trade involving Prince Fielder and Ian Kinsler, per a report.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman says the deal has been agreed to pending physicals and approval from Fielder, who has a limited no-trade clause.

Fielder had a down season with the Detroit Tigers last year, and it was believed he was distracted by his impending divorce. Fielder signed a 9-year, $214 million deal with the Tigers prior to the 2012 season and is owed $168 for the next seven years. He has a limited no-trade clause, but it’s believed he would accept the trade.

The Rangers have made it known that they were aggressively pursuing a big bat this offseason, and it looks like they have landed one. Trading Kinsler will also open up room in the infield for Jurickson Profar. Between Kinsler, Profar and Elvis Andrus, the Rangers had a surplus of middle infielders. Kinsler is guaranteed $62 million over the next five seasons (he has a $10 million option for 2017 that includes a $5 million buyout).

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports says the Tigers will be paying the Rangers $30 million of the $168 Fielder is owed.

Fielder did not perform well in the playoffs and didn’t seem exceptionally bothered by the team losing to the Red Sox in the ALCS. The Tigers could want to free up money for Max Scherzer, who will be a free agent after next season.

Prince Fielder makes embarrassing belly flop on bases (GIF)

Game 6 of the ALCS was pretty serious business in Boston on Saturday night. Luckily we had Prince Fielder to bring some levity to the game.

Prince Fielder belly flopThe Detroit Tigers husky first baseman made an absolutely hilarious and embarrassing belly flop on the bases to ruin the Tigers’ rally in the sixth. Detroit scored two on a bases loaded single off the Green Monster by Victor Martinez, so they had runners on the corners with nobody out and Jhonny Peralta at the plate. Peralta grounded a ball to second and Martinez was out trying to advance to second. Fielder broke for home, so Dustin Pedroia threw home and got Fielder in a rundown. Fielder was barely off third, but he must not have thought he could make it back safely, so he decided to stay in a pickle for a few seconds so Peralta could advance to second.

After dancing around for a few seconds, Fielder finally decided to try sneaking back to third, but the dude totally misjudged where the base was, did a huge belly flop, and face-planted about five feet short. It was a thing of beauty.

On this side angle, it looks like Prince tripped, which explains the odd landing:

[Read more...]

Prince Fielder denied fan interference call, young fan waves at him (GIF)

Prince-Fielder-fan-interference

The Boston Red Sox pulled off an amazing comeback against the Detroit Tigers in Game 2 of the ALCS on Sunday night, thanks in large part to David Ortiz’s grand slam to tie the game in the 8th inning. Boston also may have gotten a little help from the umpires.

Before he slashed a game-winning single to left field in the 9th, Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a foul ball out of play down the first base line. Prince Fielder looked like he had a chance to secure the popup, but the Fenway Park fans did their job by winning the battle. As the photo above that @cjzero passed along shows, it was very close to being fan interference. This little guy was glad it wasn’t.

Prince-Fielder-fan-interference

“Hi, Mr. Fielder.”

The no-call gave Saltalamacchia another chance and he delivered. Even if Prince caught the ball, there would have been one out and the Red Sox would have still had a runner on third. There’s a solid chance they would have won anyway, but there’s also a decent chance the umpire would have called fan interference if the game was in Detroit. Plays like that are what makes home field advantage so important.

GIF via @cjzero

Prince Fielder eats fan’s nacho after chasing foul ball (GIF)

Prince-Fielder-nacho

Prince-Fielder-nachoThe Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners played an afternoon game on Thursday, which can be difficult for players who are used to playing night games during the week. It messes up their routine, and that likely includes their meal schedule. So Prince Fielder decided to take care of himself on the field during the game.

After chasing a foul ball and running out of room, Fielder leaned over the railing and casually snagged a nacho from a fan. If you’re not going to come away with the ball, you might as well grab a snack. It’s really a power move that players should go to more often. The guy holding the nachos didn’t even know what hit him, but I’m sure he’ll be pumped when he sees his own mug all over the internet.

The big fella must have gotten the move from Jeff Franceour, who got way more personal with a fan last year when he dug his hand into a bucket of popcorn. At least Fielder showed some manners.

GIF via The Big Lead