Torii Hunter thinks everyone needs to back off Prince Fielder, even though the first baseman isn’t putting up his usual numbers this year. Speaking on the “Ryan and Rico” show on Detroit’s 105.1 FM on Tuesday, Hunter indicated that Fielder is dealing with issues off the field.
MLive.com’s James Schmehl posted a link to the audio:
“Prince is a strong guy, man. A lot of people don’t know what’s going on in his life.” Hunter said. “He’s out there every day, won’t come out of the lineup, no matter what’s going on off the field or on the field. … Us as players, we know what’s really going on. And we appreciate him going out there every day, despite…”
He trailed off from there.
Fielder is hitting .261/.352/.432 with 17 homers and 81 RBI this year. The RBI total is fine, but his OPS is down 156 points from his first year in Detroit. His career worst OPS was an .831 mark from his rookie season in 2006. Right now, he’s at .784.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.