Prince Fielder signs a nine-year, $214 million deal with the Tigers

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It’s being reported by multiple sources that Prince Fielder is “very close” to a nine-year, $214 million deal with the Detroit Tigers. Tim Brown of Yahoo! had it first. UPDATE: The Associated Press reports that it’s a done deal.

This is really off-the-wall.  Partially because (a) the Tigers just last week said they weren’t going to go down that road; (b) the Tigers already have an all-world first baseman in Miguel Cabrera and, after this year anyway, a really good DH in Victor Martinez to whom they owe a lot of money through 2014; (c) Prince Fielder doesn’t get along with his dad, and if he goes to Detroit he’s going to get Cecil Fielder questions all the time.

Miguel Cabrera isn’t going to DH. Prince Fielder said he doesn’t want to. I also assume that we are well past the days when Cabrera can play third base. How does this work?

UPDATE: Jon Heyman is reporting that Fielder would be the starting first baseman. That means Cabrera is likely the DH.  No clue what happens when V-Mart is back in 2013.

I suppose that’s Jim Leyland’s problem.  And, at least offensively speaking, it’s not a bad problem to have.  Pairing Fielder up with Cabrera in the middle of that lineup is a huge improvement to what Detroit had going in the wake of Victor Martinez’s ACL injury. And  adding one of the best hitters in baseball to a team that won its division by 15 games last season almost assures them of doing do again.

Doesn’t it?

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.