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A tiger for a Prince

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012, at 8:52 AM


The recently retired Cardinals skipper Tony LaRussa was named this week as the official coach of the National League team in the 2012 All-Star match-up.

Tony made no bones about the fact that he really wanted to do this if the opportunity were to arise and frankly, I think he deserves it. After the career he has had and what he did for the Cardinals, this final send-off is well earned.

LaRussa has been reported as saying he would bring Duncan along, but we don't know who else at this point.

This final send-off game, however, will not be a cake walk for the National League team.

Arguably the two most powerful first basemen in the National League have skipped town to the American League over the past 60 days. Obviously, one of them played on the team that Tony pushed through the World Series in 2011.

Prince Fielder signing a nine-year /$214 million deal with the Detroit Tigers shows that the team is ready to make a big splash next year and that they were extremely unhappy with how their season ended. I don't blame them.

I know a lot of people have criticized the Tigers for the deal, but for them it's a great deal in my opinion even if it did cost them too much (Fielder's average annual value is only $220k under Pujols').

First, the loss of Victor Martinez for likely all of 2012 makes the extra bat a necessity for the team that hopes to stay in contention.

Second, if the biggest problem you have is two of the American League's top-five first basemen, then you have something to be happy about. Miguel Cabrera has reportedly already expressed his interest in making the move, so there should be no feelings hurt. He wants to win as bad as the rest of them.

Third, and very important for this franchise, is the fact that they can market the life out of Fielder, whose dad spent six years with the team. Prince should come in with a good reception due to the lineage and the team willlikely sell Fielder memorabilia at twice the soeed they can produce it. Hopefully that will help them recoup part of his paycheck.

Fourth, in Detroit he can DH. That's not an option in Washington even though it appears they weren't as close to a deal as originally reported.

The biggest hiccup for Detroit is that when Martinez returns from his torn ACL in 2013, they will have to find him a place because his catching days are likely over. First base might have been an option, but obviously that won't be happening with Fielder and Cabrera blocking the way.

I have to admit, I've always had a little bit of a soft spot for the Tigers because I have quite a bit of family in Michigan so we rib each other pretty often (more me than them). That made the 2006 World Series a lot of fun (for me, not them). If the Cardinals are out of the running, I would likely follow them.

The Saturday evening when the Rangers officially knocked the Tigers out, my aunt called to concede defeat and declare herself a temporary Cardinals fan.


In other Cardinals news, the team has once again avoided arbitration by signing a one-year contract with "closer" Jason Motte.

The deal is reportedly worth $1.95 million. Motte had requested $2.4 million and arbitration and the club requested $1.5 million.

Last season he made $435,000.

This ties up the final arbitration eligible player for the team.


To submit a question for the Balls & Strikes Mailbag, either email cnoles@dailystatesman.com , call (573)624-4545 or fill out the form at dailystatesman.com/blogs/coreynoles/

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since we couldnt sign he who must not be named, i am happy he is out of the national league. same with fielder. the last thing i wouldve wanted was to have to face either of them in the postseason

-- Posted by uptobat on Thu, Jan 26, 2012, at 10:21 PM

also, i really enjoy reading your pieces Mr. Noles

-- Posted by uptobat on Thu, Jan 26, 2012, at 10:22 PM
Corey Noles
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoy them! CN

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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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