The Boston Red Sox made the biggest signing of the offseason so far today by signing former Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder to an 8-year, $250 million contract.
"Prince is 27 and just entering his prime, so we feel we have locked up a powerful bat at the shortstop position for many years into the future," said Boston general manager Ben Cherington. "There isn't another shortstop in the league who can match Prince's production."
Fielder has averaged 38 home runs and 107 RBI in his six full seasons in the majors and has a career .282 batting average and .930 OPS. Cherington also pointed to Fielder's defense as a bonus.
"No offense to Marco Scutaro, who has been a professional for us at shortstop the last two seasons, but he made 33 errors combined in 2010 and 2011," the new Red Sox GM said. "Prince only made 19. So any perceptions out there that this is a huge downgrade in team defense couldn't be more absurd."
Fielder says he felt playing for the Red Sox was the perfect fit for him.
"I wanted to be paid what I think I'm worth and I wanted to have a chance to win a championship," he said. "Boston gives me that. But best of all, they have an incredibly unhealthy clubhouse. I don't eat fried chicken, but I'm sure we can get jalapeno poppers or fried cauliflower delivered or … donuts! Donuts! Yes! Dunkin Donuts is up there, right? This is so great."
The former first baseman also said he has no concerns about switching to shortstop.
"The innings in the field don't take too long," he said. "And they've promised me that for every home run I hit, I get to play three games in the field while sitting on a stool."
Cherington says the Fielder signing isn't the last of Boston's moves.
"We'll probably sign Albert Pujols, too," he said. "Or at least make him an offer. To play where? Who knows. But he's a big name, so we're going to try to sign him. It's this smart approach to free agency that has allowed us to remain so competitive over the past decade."