By Eric Schmidt

Since the beginning of time, or so it seems, the American League has clearly favored power hitters, while the pitching has been better in the National League.

The designated hitter enables aging power hitters the chance to prolong their career. Baseball purists like myself find it frustrating that out of shape hacks have the ability to make millions a year just taking cuts three times a night. They cannot field, cannot run, and barely ever hit successfully outside of Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz. Newly acquired Detroit Tigers 1B Prince Fielder looks to be the first baseman and shift Detroit Tigers Miguel Cabrera to third base or the outfield, where he has experience in both regards. Cabrera could also DH for a time.

On paper, and realistically thinking, this deal is as big a splash as it has gotten in the AL, and he was paid just short of what Los Angeles Angels 1B Albert Pujols received. Prince Fielder is only 27, a far cry from the age of Pujols. His presence should truly put a dynamic Detroit Tigers lineup over the top. The Tigers feature the best pitcher in baseball right now in P Justin Verlander as well as a young lineup of solid contact hitters and of course two of the best hitters in baseball.

The pros are the fact that the Detroit Tigers now have the best 1-2 punch in baseball this upcoming season with the addition of Fielder. Fielder is young, and despite being paid a lion’s share, he should be able to play well over the duration of his contract. Prince Fielder does not have any major injury concerns and will only be about 36 at the time of his contacts expiration.

Prince Fielder will then be able to slide into a DH role and perhaps be productive until age 40. The pitching in the AL Central is significantly worse than what he faced in the form of St. Louis Cardinals P’s Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, and a number of NL aces throughout the season.

Fielder will not have to face any pitchers in the division who can stop him. In fact, the only two Cy Young finalists in the Top 10 from his division are on his own team.

The cons are… Prince Fielder is the fattest vegetarian I have ever seen. He stands in at close to 300 pounds. While baseball may  not be the most physical sport in the world, being that hefty will wreck his knees, hamper his swing, and break down his ankles as he reaches his thirties. Over time, Fielder will slow far faster than a player like Albert Pujols who has stayed young and is in great shape.

The Tigers and Angels are contending teams looking to get over the hump against their toughest AL East foes. With their slugging pieces in place, the AL pennant will be chock full of talented teams bashing, striking, and sprinting their way to the finish line.

Filed under: AL, Central

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