Prince excited to join a 'great team' in Texas
Slugger says he'll miss Detroit, but he's happy to have a new home with Rangers
ARLINGTON -- Prince Fielder, according to the contract he signed with the Tigers, had the right to veto a trade to the Rangers. He chose not to do that, instead accepting a deal that brings him to Texas in exchange for second baseman Ian Kinsler.
"Obviously it's another great team," Fielder said on Thursday. "I don't think it's a bad thing. Obviously I thought it would be good for everybody. I want everybody to be happy."
Fielder spoke briefly on a conference call with Texas reporters one day after the Rangers completed the trade with the Tigers and was formally introduced Monday at a news conference at the Ballpark in Arlington.
The trade comes after Fielder spent just two seasons with the Tigers. He signed a nine-year, $214 million contract with them on Jan. 26, 2012, but was traded after hitting .279 with 25 home runs, 106 RBIs and .457 slugging percentage this past season. The home runs and slugging percentage were both career lows for him.
"Whatever I did last year, I'll do the opposite this year," Fielder said. "It was cool. The season went fine. It is what it is. You can't take it back. We went to the playoffs. We didn't go as far as we wanted to go, but everybody is still alive."
Fielder was 9-for-40 (.225) with no home runs and no RBIs over 11 playoff games as the Tigers were knocked out in six games by the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series. His playoff struggles were noticed by Tigers fans during the three games of the ALCS at Comerica Park and the reaction was not good.
Fielder did not express any ill will toward the Tigers even though his stay in Detroit was much shorter than he expected.
"I understand baseball is a business," Fielder said. "It was all good. We didn't win the World Series ... it happens. It was good. I enjoyed it. I'll miss the fans and miss my teammates, but I'm happy to start new in Texas."
Now he starts over.
"It will definitely be different, it will definitely be new," Fielder said. "I'll take it. I'm happy to be in Texas. Hopefully we'll have a good year."
Fielder, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Brewers in the National League, has played 13 games at the Ballpark in Arlington. He is 13-for-49 with four doubles, four home runs, 15 RBIs and a .592 slugging percentage in a ballpark that may be more conducive to his left-handed power swing than Comerica Park. Fielder had a .512 slugging percentage at Comerica, slightly under his career slugging percentage of .527
"I'm pretty excited about it," Fielder said. "I think it will be great."
Fielder, who spent part of his childhood living in Irving while his father Cecil was playing in the Major Leagues, also has no problem with the prospect of playing in the Texas summer heat.
"I kind of like it," Fielder said. "It keeps you loose. It wears you down because I play every day, but the heat is good to get the muscles loose. With me, when it's warm, I feel loose. It will definitely be hot, but I don't think it will be a problem."
The Rangers pursued Fielder two years ago when he was a free agent. General manager Jon Daniels said Texas did not come close to matching the Tigers' offer, but the background work the club did during the process helped in making this trade.
Fielder, who has a high regard for manager Ron Washington, suggested it also helped him in deciding to approve the trade.
"It definitely didn't hurt," Fielder said. "Everybody was real nice. I liked those guys."
The Rangers didn't sign Fielder back then, but now they have him for seven more years. He has $168 million left on his contract, but the Tigers will send the Rangers $30 million spread out over the final five years of the deal.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.