Detroit have eye on winning the Series, and with Cabrera they have a right-left combo better than 'in any line-up in baseball'.
Prince Fielder follows his father by becoming a Tiger
DETROIT, MICHIGAN // With Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera in the middle of the line-up, the Detroit Tigers look ready for a season of slugging it out with their competition.
Fielder and the Tigers agreed to a nine-year, US$214 million (Dh786m) contract this week. The AL Central champions made their move for the free agent first baseman after the recent knee injury to star hitter Victor Martinez.
Several teams had shown interest in Fielder, who had spent his entire career with the Milwaukee Brewers. He visited Texas, and the Washington Nationals also got involved in the discussions.
The Tigers won their division by 15 games before losing in the AL Championship Series to Texas. With Fielder now in the fold Dave Dombrowski, the general manager, and Mike Ilitch, the owner, have a team that will enter the 2012 season with an eye on winning the franchise's first World Series title since 1984.
"Everyone knew Mr Ilitch and Mr Dombrowski were going to make a move when Victor went down," Brennan Boesch, the outfielder, said. "But I don't think anybody thought it would be this big."
The move also keeps Fielder's name in the Tigers' family. His father, Cecil, became a big league star when he returned to the majors from Japan and hit 51 home runs with Detroit in 1990.
Cecil played with the Tigers into the 1996 season, and young Prince made a name for himself by hitting prodigious home runs in batting practice at Tiger Stadium.
With Cabrera, 28, and Fielder, 27, Detroit will begin this season with two players under the age of 30 with at least 200 career homers.
According to Stats LLC, that's happened only once before. At the start of the 1961 season, the Milwaukee Braves featured the 29-year-old Eddie Mathews (338 homers) and the 27-year-old Hank Aaron (219).
Fielder hit .299 with 38 home runs and 120 RBIs last season. He is a three-time All-Star and was the MVP of last year's event in Phoenix.
The beefy slugger has averaged 40 homers and 113 RBIs over the past five years. He has also been among the most durable players in the majors, appearing in at least 157 games in each of the last six seasons.
Fielder hits left-handed, while Cabrera is a right-hander. Jim Leyland, the manager, will get to decide where to put them in the batting order. They may share time at first base and designated hitter.
"I don't think there's a better right-left combo in any line-up in baseball," Boesch said. "I'm sure [the manager's] wheels are already turning on how to set them up."