Fielder’s addition separates AL Central field

Prince Fielder finally was given his big free-agent contract. And from the looks of it, the deal was well worth the wait.

Fielder and the Detroit Tigers agreed to a nine-year, $214 million deal on Tuesday, giving a boost to an offense that had recently lost the services of DH/catcher Victor Martinez for the season due to an ACL tear.

Even without Martinez, I figured the Tigers would remain favorites in an AL Central that has the Minnesota Twins down and the Chicago White Sox in rebuilding mode. But with Fielder on board, Detroit has a dynamic 1-2 lumber punch in Fielder and Miguel Cabrera to go with a solid pitching staff anchored by Justin Verlander.

Prince Fielder is going to Motown. Associated Press photo

So where does this leave the Twins?

I think they will be an improved team in 2012, assuming Minnesota isn’t snakebit with injuries the way they were last season. But I don’t see the Twins competing for the AL Central title in 2012. Unless they jump in and grab Roy Oswalt, I expect Minnesota to be a middle-of-the-road team this season.

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