BREAKING NEWS: Prince Fielder’s career over after second neck surgery

Jun 12, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA;  Texas Rangers designated hitter Prince Fielder (84) reacts to scoring a run the the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Texas won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s note: This is an ongoing story. We will update the post as more information comes in.

Everyone was going about their day waiting for the Rangers day game versus Colorado, when Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal dropped a bomb via Twitter about Rangers DH Prince Fielder.

A few minutes later, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News confirmed the Rosenthal report.

A follow up from Rosenthal cleared up Fielder’s status

 

The end of Fielder’s career brings to a close a roller coaster relationship between him and Texas. Texas traded second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers for Fielder and salary relief in November 2013 in a deal criticized by many. His first season in Texas was 2014, ending after 42 games when he was diagnosed with a neck injury.

Healthy in 2015 Fielder rebounded, posting a .305/.378/.463 slash to go with 23 homers and winning AL Comeback Player of the Year that season. 2016 became a mirror of 2014, with Fielder accruing a .212/.292/.334 line before his neck shut him down for this year and for good.

This is a sad day for Fielder, once one of baseball’s most feared hitters. His best season was with Milwaukee in 2009, when he hit 45 homers posting a .299/.412/.602 slash and accumulating 5.9 WAR. After terrorizing the NL, Detroit signed him to a 9 year, $214 million contract in 2012. A great first year in Detroit turned to middling performances in the regular and post season. The Texas trade represented a fresh start for Fielder, but the power numbers never found their way to Arlington.

If you needed a reminder of how unfair both life and baseball are, the story arc of Prince Fielder in Texas should serve as notice. Since Fielder’s arrival, he’s been a beloved member of the clubhouse and community. He brought energy to the dugout, while being a strong embodiment of the Never Ever Quit mantra manager Jeff Banister preaches to his team. To see his career end not by choice, but by circumstance is sad.

From a baseball perspective, which can’t be ignored, it creates roster flexibility that Texas will need going forward. The DH spot opening up means someone like Shin-Soo Choo can move out of the outfield. Even more likely is Texas continues to use Jurickson Profar as a Ben Zobrist type player, cycling players through the DH spot who need a day off their feet. While in no way desirable, this does benefit Texas on the field going forward.

As for the remainder of his contract, $24 million a season until the end of 2020, Grant comes in and clears that up.

The discussions of Fielder will pour in over the next few days. It’s hard to imagine they’ll be anything but glowing. As they should be. The on field performance, or lack thereof, wasn’t a conscious decision. Nobody put more pressure on Prince Fielder to be great than Fielder himself. There’s no doubt that nobody hurts worse on this day than Fielder, even though there’s plenty of his teammates who are crushed by this news.

So on a day like this, it’s best to remember the humanity of the baseball player. In a time where more than ever we reduce players to statistics and results, Fielder’s situation should be a reminder that players are people. They deal with the same things we do, and in cases like this get dealt hands that suck. This isn’t the way the Prince Fielder story should end, but it’s the way it will end.

So for doing everything you could to succeed here in Texas, giving the team and fans everything you had, we thank you.

For the help in getting Texas to the AL West crown last year, we thank you.

For being an upstanding member of the DFW community, we thank you.

#ThankYouPrince

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Samuel Hale
When Samuel isn't displeasing you with his opinions about the Texas Rangers, he's trying to corral young broadcasters at UTA Radio. If you buy him pizza and high class chocolate milk, he'll probably be your best friend. Probably. He got to see Texas clinch a World Series berth in person, and sports cried when Pudge Rodriguez went into the Rangers Hall of Fame. He enjoys the Oxford comma and over tweeting.

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