The Rangers injury-plagued season continues to get worse.
They found out yesterday that first baseman Prince Fielder has decided to have surgery on the herniated disk in his neck that has kept him sidelined since May 16. The procedure will be performed on Tuesday, barring a second opinion. However, the surgery appears to be the case that will likely end his season.
According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the Rangers do have some insurance on Fielder's contract that he estimates could save them about $2 million. The insurance policy pays out 50 cents on the dollar during a certain time period, which is believed to be about 90 days.
Prior to the injury, Fielder had played in 547 consecutive games. Now, his 2014 campaign will likely be over. Fielder is hitting a triple-slash line of .247/.360/.360 with three home runs and 16 runs batted in. Over Fielder's past three All Star seasons, he has hit a triple-slash line of .297/.396/.515 with 93 home runs (31 per season) with 334 runs batted in (111.3 per season). Over his career, Fielder has hit a triple-slash line of .285/.388/.522 with 288 home runs (29 per season) and 886 runs batted in (89 runs batted in) with the Milwaukee Brewers, Detroit Tigers, and Texas Rangers.
The Rangers acquired Fielder this offseason in a blockbuster. They acquired him and cash from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for second baseman Ian Kinsler. Fielder is owed $24 million every season through 2020, with the Tigers paying $6 million of his salary starting in 2016.
Is there a possibility that the Rangers pursue Kendrys Morales, the final remaining top free agent from the 2013 offseason? There is a chance, but he could be looking for a deal like Stephen Drew's, who got paid a prorated $10 million over one year from the Red Sox. The Rangers may not be willing, or cannot afford, to spend that money when they are sitting in fourth in the American League West.
Regardless the case, the Rangers will need to find a replacement, as their first baseman in Prince Fielder will likely not be able to return to the lineup again this year, which is yet another injury that the Rangers have had to swallow this season. It just does not look like it is their year.