NEW YORK – Prince Fielder could have vetoed the blockbuster swap of All-Star players that sent him to the Texas Rangers less than two years after signing his big deal with Detroit.
The slugging first baseman decided to take the fresh start with a new team.
“Obviously, it’s another good team,” Fielder said Thursday, a day after being sent to Texas for second baseman Ian Kinsler. “I didn’t think it was going to be a bad thing and plus, most of all, I thought it was going to be good for everyone. I just wanted everyone to be happy.”
Fielder was only two seasons into the $214 million, nine-year contract he signed with Detroit before the 2012 season, when the Rangers were also a suitor. Their offer was nowhere close to what the five-time All-Star got then.
While playing all 324 regular-season games for the Tigers the past two seasons, Fielder hit .295 with 55 home runs and 214 RBIs. But his 25 homers this year were his fewest over a full season, and he didn’t drive in a run in 11 postseason games before Detroit lost the AL Championship Series to Boston in six games.
“It was cool. The season was fine. It is what it is, bro,” Fielder said during a brief conference call with Rangers beat writers. “You can’t take it back. Everything is cool. We got to the playoffs. Unfortunately we didn’t get where we wanted to go.”
The Rangers plan to formally introduce Fielder in a news conference Monday.
Fielder provides Texas manager Ron Washington with a middle-of-the-order threat in a lineup that still includes Adrian Beltre and Alex Rios, filling one of the team’s primary offseason wants even before baseball’s winter meetings.
“It gives us some direction the rest of our offseason,” general manager Jon Daniels said late Wednesday night.
Fielder is a .286 career hitter with 285 homers and 870 RBIs in 1,322 games with Milwaukee (2005-11) and Detroit (2012-13). In 13 career games as an opponent at Rangers Ballpark, he hit .265 with four homers and 15 RBIs.
Before Fielder went to Detroit, he traveled to Dallas to meet with Daniels and other Rangers officials.
Daniels said that was helpful this week when making a decision in a trade that came together quickly. That also played into Fielder’s quick decision to accept it.
“It definitely didn’t hurt. Everybody was real nice, and I liked the guys,” Fielder said. “It definitely will be different. It’s definitely going to be new. Yeah, I’ll take it, I guess, a fresh start.”
As for the Texas heat, the big first baseman spent some of his preteen years living in the Dallas area and isn’t concerned about playing every day in the summer months.
“I kind of like it. Obviously it keeps you loose,” he said. “I play every day, the heat actually is good just to be able to get muscles loose, especially later in the season as the body starts to get tired. For me, whenever it’s warm, I’m just loose and better actually. It’s definitely going to be hot, but it’s not going to be a problem.”
Arlington Texas AP
Yu Darvish is expected to work out in Texas for a few more days before returning to Japan after an MRI indicated inflammation from nerve irritation in the pitcher’s lower back has subsided.
Darvish pitched through the problem the final six weeks of the Major League Baseball season. He had an injection two days after the season ended before going home.
The Rangers said Thursday that Darvish had a follow-up exam in Texas this week and will continue with a core conditioning program to strengthen his back. The right-hander should be able to go through his offseason throwing program with no issues.
Darvish went 13-9 with a 2.93 ERA in 32 MLB starts, with a league-best 277 strikeouts in 209 innings.