Pujols in short term
Dave van Dyck
Are we talking long- or short-term?
What makes Pujols so valuable are the things he does past the obvious. Yes, he hits home runs at key moments, hits for average and plays a decent first base (better than Fielder). But he also plays an entire game for a complete nine innings, doing little things that teammates notice and appreciate — like from going first to third on a single, stealing a base when least expected, legging out a double on bad legs. Fielder hits some real nice long fly balls and is usually a cooperative fellow, period.
Fielder perfect fit
Eduardo A. Encina
At first thought, I want to say Pujols. He's been the best player in the game, he's a three-time MVP, he has won two World Series and has boatloads of intangibles that make him a high-impact player.
But there already are signs that Pujols' game is starting to regress. And he just turned 32. And time seemingly takes its toll on the game's best players more dramatically.
Fielder, 27, is the perfect fit for the Tigers. Who cares if he can't field? Who cares if he makes the Tigers even slower? The combination of Fielder and Miguel Cabrera gives the Tigers the deadliest one-two punch in baseball.
And expect Fielder to capitalize.
Best ahead for Fielder
The Angels should consider themselves extremely fortunate if Albert Pujols is still making All-Star teams in the latter half of his 10-year deal. Pujols turned 32 this month and his statistics indicate he already is in decline.
It's hard to imagine any player being a top-tier player over the course of an entire nine- or 10-year contract. But Fielder is 27 and his best seasons are probably ahead of him. He figures to have at least five or six more seasons as an elite hitter, which would cover more than half of his nine-year deal.
Fielder should benefit from hitting behind Miguel Cabrera, just as Cabrera should benefit from hitting in front of him.
Pujols closes gap
Juan C. Rodriguez
Even without Victor Martinez, the Tigers already were good enough to win the American League Central. But in adding a huge bat the Tigers also created some ripple effects. Defensively, they are worse with Miguel Cabrera at third and Fielder at first. The Tigers look like an 850-run offense, but defense is vital against good opposing pitching in low-scoring games.
The Angels needed Albert Pujols to close the gap on the AL champion Rangers. Last season they ranked 10th in the AL in runs, ninth in slugging and 11th in on-base percentage. Pujols not only addresses those shortcomings, he's a Gold Glove defender as well.