What Fielder's signing means for the Sox

What Fielder's signing means for the Sox
January 24, 2012, 10:13 pm
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We don't know all the details of Prince Fielder's nine-year contract with Detroit -- specifically, if there's an option for him to opt out at any point -- but there are a few truths about the deal that apply to the White Sox.

1. Hit the ball to third base: The general consensus seems to be that Jim Leyland will have to move Miguel Cabrera to third base to accommodate Fielder. This is a good thing. Cabrera was the Marlins' everyday third baseman in 2006 and 2007 and also picked up some innings there in 2003, 2005 and 2008. Over those 3,273 23 innings spent at the hot corner, Cabrera has a -30 DRS and -11 UZR, so he wasn't a very good third baseman before he bulked up. Chances are he'll be a defensive liability, even moreso than he was at first base.

2. That's not a fun middle: While Detroit may not have much hitting in front of the middle of their lineup (Austin Jackson? A regression-prone Jhonny Peralta? Ramon Santiago?)...my god, that middle of the lineup is just scary. Cabrera and Fielder are in their primes, and even if Alex Avila regresses, he'll probably be an above-average bat. Brennan Boesch is a solid bat as well, so 3-6 Detroit is set. If Delmon Young can re-capture his 2010 form and Peralta doesn't regress (two big ifs), this lineup will be nightmarish.

3. This sets Detroit up for long-term division domination...probably: The Tigers were the division favorites before and after the injury to Victor Martinez, and now, they're even bigger favorites with Fielder. Looking forward, they'll get Martinez back for 2013 and 2014 and they have a pitching staff that's under control for the next few years. But weird things happen -- remember when Detroit traded for Cabrera and was supposed to be unstoppable in 2008? The Tigers finished last that year with a 74-88 record. it was a one-year blip, sure, but Detroit won't win nine consecutive division titles.