The long nightmare in the Nation's Capital is over, and Prince Fielder did not sign with the Washington Nationals. Reports from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports indicated that Fielder, one of baseball's top free agents this offseason, has signed with the Detroit Tigers. It is reportedly a 9-year deal worth $214 million.
Nationals fans will have to take the next few days to unwind from the nearly endless rumor mill that has tied Fielder to their team for the last month. There will undoubtedly be many emotions for the average Nats fan, including frustration and anger. The team lost out on a player who missed 1 game in the past 3 seasons and has never played fewer than 157 games in the past 6 MLB seasons.
However, we believe that most Nats fans will end up relieved once all is said and done. If the Nationals had taken this deal with Fielder, the team would have been hamstrung with a massive contract for the next 9 seasons, and it may have eliminated the possibility of re-signing the teams franchise player, Ryan Zimmerman. With the money free, the team should be able to extend Zimmerman's contract and have money left over to complete for a center fielder next offseason, which is their real need.
We'll have more in the coming days about the implications of this deal, but for now, lick your wounds, Nats fans. It's still going to be a fun season in NatsTown.