Now that Prince Fielder has inked a megadeal with the Tigers, what does that mean for the Cubs?
For one, it just assures the NL Central will be without the slugger until at least the end of his prime (barring a trade or opt-out clause in the contract). It's great for the Cubs that they won't have to face Albert Pujols or Fielder in 60 or so at-bats each season. Maybe that will be enough to bring Cubs pitchers back down a more respectable level in 2012 after a less-than-stellar '11 season.
The Fielder deal also affects the trade market for certain Cubs.
For one, the Tigers were one of the teams allegedly in big on Matt Garza. It hasn't worked out that way so far and with all the money thrown at Fielder, Detroit needs cheap pitching. The Tigers currently don't have a surefire No. 5 starter without turning to a rookie -- like Jacob Turner, whom the Cubs wanted as the centerpiece of a deal for Garza.
Garza will earn at least 7.95 million in arbitration for 2012, which is awfully expensive to a team that will pay three separate guys at least 20 million in 2012 as well as Victor Martinez 13 million to sit on the disabled list all year. If Garza wins arbitration and his '12 contract is 12.5 million, that may count out the Tigers completely.
Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski vehemently denied any interest in trading for Garza before, but he also denied any interest in Fielder and look what happened there. It's possible Garza is still on the table, but maybe not for Turner, according to Dan Dickerson, the radio voice of the Tigers. Check out the video on the right for more from Dickerson.
The Fielder signing also probably puts the Tigers out on possible Alfonso Soriano or Marlon Byrd trades. There really haven't been any rumors here -- only speculation -- but there's no way the Tigers would want to take on either of these guys' contracts, even if the Cubs eat some money.
If Detroit moves Miguel Cabrera to third base and plays Prince Fielder at first, they would still have an opening at DH, but Byrd or Soriano probably aren't good fits, if only for their price.