The Detroit Tigers responded to a jarring injury with an audacious move.
Free agent first baseman Prince Fielder and the Tigers agreed yesterday to a nine-year, $214 million contract that fills the AL Central champions’ need for a power hitter, a person familiar with the deal said.
Detroit boldly stepped up in the Fielder sweepstakes after the recent knee injury to star Victor Martinez. A week ago, the Tigers announced the productive designated hitter could miss the entire season after tearing his left ACL during offseason conditioning.
CBS first reported the agreement with Fielder.
The person told the AP the deal was subject to a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract was not yet complete.
The Tigers won their division by 15 games before losing in the AL Championship Series to Texas. Adding the 27-year-old Fielder gives the Tigers two of the game’s premier sluggers, pairing him with Miguel Cabrera.
With Fielder now in the fold, general manager Dave Dombrowski and owner Mike Ilitch have a team that figures to enter the 2012 season as a favorite to repeat in the division - with an eye on winning the franchise’s first World Series title since 1984.
The move also keeps Fielder’s name in the Tigers’ family. His father, Cecil, became a big league star when he returned to the majors from Japan and hit 51 home runs with Detroit in 1990.
Prince 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 event in Phoenix.
The deal is only the fourth $200 million contract in baseball history, following Alex Rodriguez’s $275 million, 10-year contract with the Yankees, A-Rod’s $252 million, 10-year deal with Texas, and Albert Pujols’s $240 million, 10-year contract last month with the Angels.
Lincecum gets $40.5m
Two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum and the Giants reached a verbal agreement on a two-year contract worth $40.5 million. The deal includes a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $18 million this year and $22 million in 2013, a person familiar with the agreement said . . . First baseman Carlos Pena passed a physical and officially rejoined the Rays, a club he helped advance to the postseason in 2008 and 2010. The former Northeastern slugger agreed to a $7.25 million, one-year deal last week . . . Righthander Brandon Morrow and the Blue Jays have agreed to a $21 million, three-year contract that avoided salary arbitration. The 27-year-old Morrow was 11-11 last season with a 4.72 ERA . . . The Athletics and free agent righthander Bartolo Colon agreed to terms on a one-year contract. The 38-year-old went 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA in 29 appearances and 26 starts last year for the Yankees in his 14th big league season. He won the 2005 AL Cy Young Award . . . Infielder Wilson Betemit and the Orioles agreed to a two-year, $3.25 million contract.
Posada calls it quits
As expected, Jorge Posada officially announced his retirement. The five-time All-Star catcher ends his major league career after 17 seasons, all with the Yankees. The 40-year-old Posada finished with a .273 career batting average, 275 home runs and 1,065 RBIs. “I could never wear another uniform,’’ Posada said. “I will forever be a Yankee.’’ Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek weighed in on his rival’s retirement, saying: “After hundreds of head-to-head games during the regular season and the postseason, I can’t say I respect and admire anyone at our position more than I do Jorge.’’ . . . The man who supplanted Posada, Russell Martin, agreed to a one-year, $7.5 million deal to stay with the Yankees. He hit .237 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs last season . . . The Red Sox will hold a Town Hall Meeting featuring manager Bobby Valentine and general manager Ben Cherington Feb. 1 at Worcester Technical High at 7 p.m. . . . About 12 groups submitted initial bids to buy the Dodgers from Frank McCourt, several people familiar with the process said. Among the bidders were Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and former YES Network chief executive officer Leo Hindery . . . Tony La Russa will become the second retired manager to lead an All-Star team next summer, joining Hall of Famer John McGraw. La Russa concluded a 16-season run in St. Louis with the team’s second World Series title in five years last October, stepping down after 33 seasons overall . . . The agent for Yoenis Cespedes said the Cuban outfielder has established legal residency in the Dominican Republic, the final hurdle to becoming a free agent. Earlier this month, Cespedes said six major league teams - the Marlins, Orioles, Tigers, Indians, Cubs, and White Sox - are interested in him.