ARLINGTON, Texas — Prince Fielder used to take batting practice as a kid at Tigers Stadium, and was known for hitting the ball over the right-field fence at a young age.
After being traded to the Texas Rangers, the slugging first baseman now will play his home games in a ballpark where right field is modeled after the old stadium in Detroit where he used to hang out when his father played there.
“I like it. ... I’m definitely going to look into that,” Fielder said, with a chuckle. “I’m just happy to be here, play hard and win some games.”
The Rangers introduced their newest player Monday, five days after acquiring him in a blockbuster trade of All-Stars, with popular second baseman Ian Kinsler going to Detroit.
Fielder was only two seasons into the $214 million, nine-year contract he signed with Detroit before the 2012 season. The Rangers had met with Fielder during free agency then, though their offer was nowhere close to what he got from Detroit.
With his new team also comes a new jersey number. Fielder will wear No. 84 with the Rangers, not the No. 28 he had worn through his 1,322 career games with Milwaukee (2005-11) and Detroit (2012-13).
“It’s a new start I guess, and 84 is the year I was born. It’s just fresh,” he said. “I think it works.”
That also happens to be the last year the Tigers won the World Series.
Kinsler is guaranteed $62 million through 2017: $16 million in each of the next two seasons, $14 million in 2016, $11 million in 2017 and a $5 million buyout of a $10 million option.
Detroit also will send Texas $30 million as part of the swap, payable from 2016-20, to cover part of the $168 million Fielder is due through 2020.
Fielder agreed with the perception that he has to be productive through his whole contract for the deal to work out for the Rangers. He also doesn’t think that will be too much of a problem.