Prince Fielder Sweepstakes Over, Signs with Tigers

Detroit TigersBaseballPrince FielderAmerican League CentralKansas City RoyalsCleveland IndiansMinnesota Twins

No division was won by a greater margin last season than the American League Central, and its defending champions did their best to position themselves for another runaway on Tuesday.

Two wins away from a World Series berth in 2011, the Tigers have beefed up with Prince Fielder's bat and his $214 million, nine-year deal now in the fold.

The news certainly isn't positive for the Indians, White Sox, Royals and Twins -- Detroit's division-mates who finished second through fifth respectively -- but it also does not provide wholesale change from the dynamic the division carried a day earlier.

The Tigers, the only AL Central team with a winning record in 2011, are coming off a 95-win season that saw them ahead of the pack by 15 games. The 2012 crown would be theirs to lose in any scenario, Fielder in the fold or not.

"Who won the division last year?" said Royals manager Ned Yost. "So that alone puts them in the position of guys that can certainly contend for it. But we're not going to concede the division to them yet."

Fielder, who hit 38 home runs last season, has spent all of his career in the National League, in seven seasons with the Brewers. In a small sample size during Interleague Play, he's lit up the Indians, going 8-for-17 (.471) with a 1.000 slugging percentage.




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