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Fantasy Baseball Thoughts: Prince Follows the King to the American League; Power Bats at a Premium in NL-Only Leagues

Well, if you didn't know that Scott Boras was the best agent in all of sports, now you do. When everyone was saying Prince Fielder would not get an 8, 9 or 10 year deal, with some saying he may not get a 6 or 7 year deal, Boras took advantage of the knee injury suffered by Tigers DH Victor Martinez and landed Fielder a 9 year, $214 million contract this afternoon. All this after Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said last week that he would love Fielder on the Tigers, but it would be highly unlikely. I guess he's allowed to change his mind.

I am shocked that Fielder received a 9 year offer, let alone an 8 year offer. I was thinking that either the Nationals or Rangers would sign him to a 7 year, $168 million deal. My guess is that the Nationals may have upped their offer to an 8 year offer and the Tigers one upped them by going 9 years. What is even more shocking is that Boras got this type of deal this late in the offseason, when many teams are rounding out their rosters, and getting set for pitchers and catchers in less than a month.

My thoughts on the fantasy impact of this deal after the jump:

My initial thoughts after reading about this deal was where is Miguel Cabrera going to play? I thought DH would make sense, and that very well could be his best spot, but ESPN and SiriusXMs JIm Bowden speculated the following:

Jim Leyland won a World Series with Bobby Bonilla so he can certainly win one with Miguel Cabrera at 3B

Does anyone think Miggy can still play third base? He hasn't played third base since 2008 when he played 14 games there, but he very well could gain third base eligibility this season. Some leagues have a 10 game eligibility requirement for games played in the current year, so he could gain eligibility sometime in April or May if in fact he does play there.

Should he gain third base eligibility he would be my top ranked third baseman in 2012, ahead of Blue Jays outfielder/third baseman Jose Bautista and Evan Longoria. Robert handled the third base rankings for us, so I am not sure what his thoughts are.

Now, as for Prince Fielder, I ranked him as my 4th ranked first baseman in AL-only leagues, and I think I would keep him there, behind only teammate Cabrera, Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez, and just ahead of Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira.

In my overall first base rankings, I ranked Fielder at #5, and, again, I will leave him there, with Reds first baseman Joey Votto ahead of him in 4th.

This news today could have serious implications for NL-only leagues this season, as power will be at a premium in a big way. I have written about this before, but think about the loss of power the National League has experienced this offseason:

1. Albert Pujols signs with the Angels

2. Ryan Howard recovering from a ruptured achilles tendon, and could be out till June

3. Ryan Braun testing positive for taking some banned substance, and could miss the first 50 games of the season

4. Prince Fielder signs with the Tigers

That makes 4 of the top 7 home run hitters from 2011 either leaving the NL, or out for at least two months of the season. All of this news looked at together will result in guys like Mike Stanton, Dan Uggla, Michael Morse and Jay Bruce probably getting drafted much earlier in NL-only drafts this year.

A couple other things:

  • Will losing out on Fielder result in the Nationals extending third baseman Ryan Zimmerman in the next week or so?
  • Will the Nationals desire for another left-handed bat in their lineup cause them to bring prospect Bryce Harper up north with them come April?
  • National League starters just got a slight bump in value this offseason, with aces like Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Clayton Kershaw, among others, capable of duplicating their tremendous 2011 seasons. Power is down across baseball, but even moreso in the NL this offseason.
  • Like I told another owner this afternoon, when hitting is down like it has been the last few seasons, ace starters gain value because they are capable of putting up ERAs in the low 2.00s and WHIP around 1.00-1.05. And that is very valuable.