And somewhere, Doug Fister is smiling …
Not with the Mariners, who I said from the start were a longshot. Not with the Nats or the Rangers or Orioles or any other team mentioned in recent weeks. Instead, it was the Tigers — swooping in just like the Angels with Pujols — and landing the big fella at $214 million over nine years, as first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
When it comes to the Mariners, that kind of deal never made sense. And the truth of it is, Seattle would have had to go much higher than that to outbid the Tigers, who could offer an instant contender, a city far closer to Fielder’s home in Orlando and a training camp in Florida instead of Arizona.
So at least we can put it to rest now. Fielder will be a Tiger. The Mariners will face him in Comerica Park in the third week of the season, then he and the Tigers will be at Safeco Field on May 7-9 for their only Seattle visit of the season.
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told me before the Winter Meetings that he’d at least look into Fielder’s situation, but that the team had a “threshold.” After that, he never said anything publicly about Fielder and speculation ran high for a while that Seattle was one of the lead pursuers.
But as noted all along, it takes two to tango. And it seemed pretty clear that Fielder and Scott Boras weren’t going to dance until somebody threw an A-Rod type deal at them. That team was never going to be the Mariners. It wasn’t going to be most teams in baseball.
It did turn out to be the Tigers, who came close to A-Rod cash with a deal that averages $23.77 million for nine years.
Will that be worth it in the long run for Detroit? We shall see. For now, things certainly continue to get more and more interesting in the American League. And, yes, Mister Fister — the man who couldn’t find any run support in Seattle — should be one happy guy.