Just about everyone in Detroit seems thrilled about the Prince Fielder signing despite plenty of room for concerns about his massive $214 million contract and how his arrival impacts the Tigers’ defense.
One person who definitely isn’t happy? Brandon Inge, who was slated to start at third base until Fielder’s presence pushed Miguel Cabrera across the diamond and sent Inge to the bench.
During the introductory press conference for Fielder yesterday manager Jim Leyland said he regretted Inge not finding out about the signing until after it happened and described him as “not the happiest camper.”
General manager Dave Dombrowski had similar thoughts, saying: “I can understand he wouldn’t be thrilled, but I also think at this point, probably the best thing for him to do–he’s not coming off a big year, the market is pretty well set–probably the best thing is to let him come to spring training, let him play well and let’s see what happens.”
In other words, Inge hit .197 last season, got demoted to Triple-A at one point, is 34 years old, and will make $5.5 million in 2012, so the happiness of that one particular camper shouldn’t really be a big factor for the Tigers right now. Detroit would gladly shed his salary if another team wanted Inge, but odds are that isn’t happening.
Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are closing in on a deal with catcher Matt Wieters. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it’s a two-year deal. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is for two years, at $21 million. There is an opt-out for him after year one. He will get $10 million in 2017 and, if he returns in 2018, he’ll get $11 million.
Wieters was not expected to go this long without signing, but his market, which many thought would be robust, never materialized. The Nats had been rumored to be interested for months, but they were apparently waiting to swoop in late and get what one presumes will be a bargain.
Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, so who falls where in the catcher fight in Washington is unclear, but one presumes that Wieters getting a two-year deal puts him at the top of the depth chart.
Ken Rosenthal has an interesting story up about Sergio Romo as he begins spring training with his new team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
There is some fun stuff about his family, all Dodgers fans from southern California, but the more notable stuff is about Romo himself, who has dealt with a lot more than has been reported over the past couple of seasons. The loss of three of his four grandparents is a big one, as it has thrust the mantle of head of the family on Romo in ways that he was not fully prepared for. There are also allusions to personal and psychological problems Romo has experienced — there is a vague suggestion of alcohol or maybe just late nights out and perhaps depression, but he is not specific about it — which he worked on with the help of friends and teammates on the Giants and which he now has overcome.
There’s always more going on the lives of baseball players than we as fans know.