Free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder has signed with the Detroit Tigers for nine years and $214 million, reports John Heyman of CBSSports.com, meaning the Washington Nationals, the longtime favorites to acquire Fielder's services, have lost out. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports the Nationals were unwilling to offer the three-time All-Star a contract longer than seven years.
Fielder, 27, has spent his entire seven-year career to date with the Milwaukee Brewers, hitting .282 with 230 home runs and 656 runs batted in. The left-handed slugger has averaged 37 homers per 162 games.
Nats general manager Mike Rizzo has reiterated his confidence in incumbent first baseman Adam LaRoche numerous times throughout the free-agent period. LaRoche played in just 43 games during the 2011 season, his first with Washington, due to injury, hitting .172 with three homers and 15 runs batted in. In LaRoche's absence, lightly regarded veteran Mike Morse enjoyed a breakout season, leading the team in doubles (28), homers (31), runs batted in (95), and batting average (.301).
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