Apologies, this was set to go up yesterday but a WordPress error wiped out the whole post before I could publish it…
Big Time TimmyJim is signed to a new deal, but it’s not for the length of time many people had been hoping for. The two-year deal will fill out Timmy’s arbitration years, but when it’s up he will be a (presumably) expensive free agent. Both sides are hedging their bets here; Lincecum gets set up for a huge payday and the Giants avoid another albatross contract should health or performance troubles creep up. More good news: Matt Cain is close to signing a five-year extension at a significant hometown discount. That should help to end the “pitchers don’t want to play behind this offense” nonsense.
If you’re a fan of huge contracts for huge players, the type of person who gripes that the Giants are too stingy with their payroll and don’t want to spend big, perhaps the Detroit Tigers are more your speed. With huge contract for Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera still drawing huge contracts, the team ponied up a massive nine-year contract for Prince Fielder. The Tigers are no-doubt hoping that Fielder’s lineage and star-power energizes fans much in the same way Barry Bonds did for the Giants in the 90s.
But Barry was a five-tool superstar who was in impeccable shape. Prince Fielder is still in his mid 20s and has already been relegated to the status of a lumbering cleanup hitter. At 27 years old, Fielder stands at 5-10 and is listed (generously) at 275 pounds.
To put it in perspective, Prince Fielder’s father (and noted MLB fatass) Cecil Fielder was listed at 240 pounds, and he was five inches taller than Prince. Pablo Sandoval is the same height as Prince and weighs 240 pounds. Even at the height of his “fat panda” days, Pablo was still 10-15 pounds lighter than what Fielder is *listed* as weighing. And Detroit has committed to paying him huge money for nearly a decade. Mind you, this is the same Detroit club that just two years ago was losing tens of millions of dollars because they overspent on the likes of Cabrera, Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis.
Losing money is not good for the owners or the fans. I know there’s a tendency to say “it’s not my money they’re spending,” but when the team is in the red because of a few huge contracts it means that other players get traded or released, free agents can’t be signed and young players have to be dealt before they reach a big arbitration figure.
It will no doubt be another five to ten years before we will know for sure whether the Tigers made a good decision with these huge contracts, but my money is on the Giants looking a lot smarter than Detroit when it’s all said and done.