Red Sox: Past free agency mistakes make Dave Dombrowski cautious
By Sean Penney
The signing initially paid off in Fielder’s first year in Detroit. He hit 30 homers, topped 100 RBI and helped the Tigers reach the World Series. They ultimately fell to the San Francisco Giants in the Fall Classic, with Fielder going an anemic 1-for-14 in the series, but he lived up to his contract in Year 1.
2013 was a step back, as Fielder set career-lows in home runs (25), slugging (.457) and OPS (.819). It was a solid season but not one worthy of his hefty salary. Dombrowski realized this and took the opportunity to bail on the rest of the contract, shipping him to the Texas Rangers after only two seasons.
Fielder’s career in Texas was a disaster. He did bounce back with an All-Star campaign in 2015, but that season was sandwiched between two in which he played a combined 131 games and saw his production fall off a cliff. He hit a meager .212 with a .626 OPS and eight home runs in 89 games with the Rangers in 2016 before being forced to call it a career.
Chronic neck injuries ended Fielder’s career prematurely. The 2016 season would be his last, as he retired at the age of 32, five seasons in to the nine-year deal he had signed with Detroit.