Former Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder has likely played his last Major League Baseball game, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The Rangers are expected to hold a press conference on Wednesday to announce that Fielder will be pronounced medically unable to play. Because Fielder has no choice in whether he can play, he will continue to receive his salary.
A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to Bless You Boys that the Tigers are still responsible for what they agreed to pay Fielder at the time of trade. Therefore, the Tigers will still have that money counting against their luxury tax total through 2020.
Fielder, who played for the Tigers in 2012 and 2013, suffered a second neck injury in three years since being traded to Texas, and was already pronounced out for the season back in July.
Fielder, who signed a nine-year, $214 million contract with the Tigers in January 2012, hit .295/.387/.491 with 55 home runs and 214 RBI in his two seasons in Detroit. The Tigers won the AL Central in both seasons, and reached the World Series in 2012. Fielder and the Tigers nearly repeated the feat in 2013, but were beaten in the ALCS by the Boston Red Sox.
The Tigers traded Fielder and $30 million in deferred money to the Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler after the 2013 season. Kinsler has continued to be one of the better second basemen in baseball since the deal, while Fielder missed most of the 2014 season after undergoing neck surgery.
This ended Fielder’s streak of consecutive games played at 547 from September of 2010 to May of 2014, the 25th-longest streak in MLB history. 324 of those games came in a Detroit uniform.
Fielder bounced back with an All-Star year in 2015, but played in just 89 games in 2016 before another neck injury ended his season. He was batting just .212/.292/.334 in 2016 at the time of the injury. His career batting line will end at .283/.382/.506, while he will have accumulated 1028 RBI.
The news of Fielder’s career-ending injury is likely to strike home with many Tigers fans who recall seeing a young Prince with his father, Cecil Fielder, in Detroit during the early 1990s. In an odd twist of fate, Prince will finish his career with 319 home runs, the same number as Cecil, who played for the Tigers from 1990 to 1996.