Update: Shortly after the article’s initial publishing, Jon Heyman of MLB Network cleared things up on the Fielder front.
Update Two: Evan P. Grant passes along this nugget on his verified Twitter account:
Even with the start of Major League Baseball’s offseason three months away, the sudden surge of retirement announcements continues. Last week, New York Yankees legends Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira both announced that 2016 would be their final season, though Rodriguez’s isn’t so much a retirement as it is a settlement with the team. They join Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz in riding off into the sunset.
Now, another former All-Star is on the way out, though his story and reasoning are a bit different.
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News confirmed the report on his verified Twitter account.
Fielder, a former first-round pick in 2002, has battled neck injuries over the past few seasons, ones very similar to former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s. Recently, he had his second neck surgery in the past 27 months. An after-effect of the surgery includes loss of flexibility, which likely went into Fielder’s decision to stop playing.
Rosenthal later appeared on MLB Network’s The Rundown to discuss the development, notably mentioning that the Rangers may try to find an insurance clause with regards to the remainder of Fielder’s contract.
When asked if the decision was Fielder’s solely, Rosenthal said the following.
“I’m sure it’s a combination of the doctors giving him the prognosis and him understanding that ‘hey, this isn’t good.’ It’s just a sad day.”
Fielder, the son of former Yankees World Series winner Cecil, has been a mainstay in the big leagues for over a decade now and helped usher in a new era of Milwaukee Brewers baseball alongside former National League MVP Ryan Braun. After the 2011 season and just two playoff appearances with the Brew Crew, Fielder signed a long-term deal with the Detroit Tigers — the team his father had become a big name with — to hit alongside Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, though he lasted just two seasons in Motown before a December 2013 trade to Texas for All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler.
Now, after 12 seasons in the big leagues, Fielder is set to call it quits. Grant later appeared on the MLB Network and reported that, to his knowledge, the insurance will pay half of Prince’s salary ($12 million of the $24 million he’s owed until 2021), and the Rangers will get $6 million from Detroit as part of the 2013 Fielder-Ian Kinsler swap.
The announcement was first reported about an hour before the Rangers kicked off an afternoon game with the Rockies in Colorado, though Grant confirmed that the locker room was closed shortly after Rosenthal’s tweet. Prior to the injury, Fielder was hitting.212/.292/.334 with just eight home runs in 89 games for the Rangers.
While Fielder likely falls short of the credentials needed for a Hall of Fame plaque, especially for a first baseman, that should not mean his career deserves to be easily forgotten. Just to illustrate how underrated Fielder’s career was, here are some numbers to know about the six-time All-Star career.
- From 2006-13, Fielder only missed 13 regular season games and played in all 162 games four times in five years (2009, 2011-13).
- Fielder was hit by a pitch 124 times in his career, including a bone-hurting 21 times in 2010 for the Brewers.
- Fielder had three top-five finishes in the National League MVP race with third-place finishes in 2007 and 2011 and a fourth-place finish in 2009.
- Fielder hit five home runs each off former Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo and Phillies starter/closer Brett Myers, the most he’s hit off any pitchers.
- Over his career, Fielder homered in 32 ballparks and went deep fifteen times in Houston’s Minute Maid Ballpark, which is the most long balls he’s hit in a stadium that never served as his home.
- Fielder had 23 home runs in the ninth inning or later, including four walk-off bombs.
- Yes, Fielder actually had an inside-the-park-home run in his career — and two of them, no less!
- Fielder hit 145 of his 319 career home runs (roughly 46 percent) away from home.
- Of the six players drafted before him in the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft, there were only a total of three All-Star appearances from that group — all of which came from former teammate Zack Greinke, an All-Star in 2009, 2014, and 2015.
- Fielder finishes his career with 1028 RBI, just twenty more than his father’s 1008.
- Fielder finishes his career with 319 career home runs, the same amount that his father, Cecil, had in his career.
As more is reported on the story, including all quotes from Fielder and others at the press conference, make sure to stay tuned to the Inquisitr.
[Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images]