// you’re reading...

How to Win

Prince Fielder and the Tigers

Pursuing goals can be overrated.

Sometime they’re the wrong goals. And other times the way in which they’re being pursued is the wrong way.

In the case of Prince Fielder and the Detroit Tigers, the second case could be true. Fielder and the Tigers just agreed on a nine-year, $214 million deal, because team owner Mike Ilitch desperately wants to add a World Series title to the Stanley Cups his Detroit Red Wings have won.

The question is: Was signing Fielder the right way to pursue that dream?

Fielder is 27 years old and approaching his prime. He weighs 275 pounds, more than 75 pounds over an ideal weight for a man his age and height. That is, pardon the pun, huge.

At the same time, Fielder has been one of the most durable players in the major leagues, having never played fewer than 157 games. Will that durability continue, or have all those games taken a toll? In short, right now Fielder looks like a good bet, but where will he be three years from now? Remember, the contract is for nine years.

Then there’s the question of lineup chemistry. Will Fielder add $214 million of value to a team that won a series in the playoffs last year? Hard to say, even harder to measure. Baseball is filled with unproven articles of faith. One of them is that adding a great hitter to a lineup makes the other hitters even better. This may well be true, but there is no way to test it. You can’t have a controlled study, with Fielder in one lineup and not in another.

Finally comes the intangible team factor. Adding Fielder assures the players that the team is willing to spend for success. That could help motivation, energy and focus in the clubhouse.

Try to imagine 2020, when Fielder’s contract would expire. What factors would help you decide if the deal was worth it? If the Tigers won even one World Series, you’d have to say yes. Two titles would make it a no-brainer.

But suppose Fielder can’t win a World Series? Would a near-miss make it all worth it? Or would the Tigers have to point to increased revenues, and yearly status as a contender?

I wish Fielder and the Tigers luck. I think their contract is better than the one the Angels gave Albert Pujols, or even than the one the Marlins gave Jose Reyes, but I believe there were better ways to pursue the goal of a World Series title.

*** *** *** ***
TotalGamePlan offers Winner’s Workshops for schools, sports teams and businesses. The emphasis is on motivation, skill-building and teamwork. To bring a Winner’s Workshop to your group, just email coachtully@totalgameplan.com or call (973) 800-5836. To order a copy of “Ten Things Great Coaches Know,” click here.


No comments for “Prince Fielder and the Tigers”

Post a comment