The career of Texas Rangers slugger Prince Fielder reportedly is over.
Fielder is expected to announce his departure from the game on Wednesday, in the wake of the second operation on his neck in three years, according to reports from Fox Sports, the Dallas Morning News and the Rangers’ website.
Fielder, 32, would finish his career with 319 home runs. His father, Cecil, finished his career with 319 home runs.
Fielder, who made his sixth and most recent All-Star appearance last season, was batting a career-low .212 this year. He had cervical-fusion surgery last month.
In the winter of 2011-12, when Fielder was a free agent, the Dodgers were interested in signing him, but their pursuit was tempered because former owner Frank McCourt had taken the team into bankruptcy. The Detroit Tigers then suddenly needed a slugger, after Victor Martinez was injured in the off season, and signed Fielder for nine years and $214 million.
After two seasons in Detroit, the Tigers traded him to the Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler. Although he is primarily a leadoff batter, Kinsler has hit 49 home runs for the Tigers; Fielder hit 34 for the Rangers.
Fielder batted .283 in a 12-year career, finishing in the top four of MVP voting three times and once leading the National League with a career-high 50 home runs. The Milwaukee Brewers selected him with the seventh pick of the 2002 draft, just after the Kansas City Royals selected Zack Greinke.
Fielder’s contract extends through the 2020 season, at $24 million per year. That money is guaranteed unless a player retires, so it is possible Fielder’s announcement might not be termed a retirement, barring an agreement on a contract buyout.
Of the 10 active players with the most home runs — in order, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira, Ryan Howard, Fielder and Jose Bautista — it is possible that half might not play next season.