Did Cecil's comments steer Prince away from Nationals?
Several reports have surfaced today indicating free agent first baseman Prince Fielder and the Detroit Tigers have agreed to a nine-year contract worth $214 million. The deal is pending a physical.
For months the rumor pot has been simmering with several teams reportedly interested in the young slugger. The Mariners, Blue Jays, Orioles, and Rangers were among the handful. Most recently however, the Washington Nationals emerged as favorites. Some reports even surfaced within the last week which indicated a deal with the Nationals was done.
But might Prince's father, Cecil, ruined the Nationals chances?
During a recent appearance on MLB Network Radio, Cecil explained that he spoke with Prince on Christmas Eve, and he believed the Nationals were the favorites to land the 27-year-old superstar.
Cecil said: "I think that's what's going to happen, man... personally, I think that's going to happen."
It is widely known that Prince and his father have a contentious relationship dating back to when Prince was a teenager.
The elder Fielder earned nearly $47 million during his career, but according to a 2004 story by The Detroit News, Cecil blew that fortune through gambling and bad business decisions.
Prince has been very outspoken about his desire to step out of his father's large shadow and build a legacy of his own. From Prince's perspective, accepting an offer from Washington would have meant his father was right, and would perhaps have been a sign that things are kosher between the two. My sense is that Prince is not ready to even consider that to be true, and proving his father wrong is appealing.
In addition, knowing that Prince wants a legacy independent of the one left by his father, what better way to do it than go into the city where Cecil was a beloved figure, and work to set franchise records?
(NOTE: the only Tigers record Cecil holds is for strikeouts. He had 182 in 1990.)
I'm not sure that Detroit was a silent threat from day one of the Fielder sweepstakes...word travels too fast nowadays for information not to be leaked. I believe the Tigers boldly stepped into the discussion when Victor Martinez recently suffered a knee injury. Martinez could miss the entire season.
My sense is that Fielder's interest was peaked with controlled jubilation when he learned that the Tigers were in the mix.
Fielder hit .299 with 38 home runs and 120 RBIs last season. He is a three-time All-Star and was the MVP of last year's all-star game in Phoenix.