Fielder is not retiring tomorrow. Rather, he and the Rangers are announcing that he will not be cleared by doctors to play in the Major Leagues again. Fielder had neck surgery this year and was not going to return to action for at least the rest of the season.
The Rangers still have Fielder under contract through 2020. He is entitled to his compensation because he is not retiring. When a player retires, they, in theory, renounce the rest of their contract and forfeit the money. In Fielder’s case, he has been classified as medically ineligible, allowing him to be paid the rest of his deal.
Luckily for Texas, they had an insurance policy placed on Fielder’s deal that will cut their payments in half. According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the Rangers will only owe Fielder $9 million per season instead of $18 million per season over the rest of his deal.
Fielder signed a nine-year, $214 million contract with the Detroit Tigers in the 2010-11 offseason. He is still owed approximately $100 million on the rest of his deal, with the Tigers paying him $6 million of the $24 million he will make every year from here on out.
The 32-year-old Fielder was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers with the 7th overall pick of the 2002 MLB Draft.
He was a big-time slugger during his time in Milwaukee, leading him to be named to three All-Star Games. A fan favorite with the Brewers, Fielder hit for a .282/.390/.540 slash line with 230 HR, 656 RBI and a 556-779 walk-to-strikeout ratio over 4,210 plate appearances in seven years. According to FanGraphs, Fielder was worth 20.1 WAR from 2005 to 2011.
After a brief stay in Detroit, Fielder then went on to the Rangers, where he has not been nearly as productive. He has hit .269/.350/.410 with Texas, hitting just 34 HR with 158 RBI in his stay here.
This season, he has not been hitting well at all. He hit .212/.292/.334 with 8 HR, 44 RBI and 63 strikeouts over 370 plate appearances. The Rangers went on to replace Fielder, at least in the short term, with Carlos Beltran, who has played designated hitter since being acquired from the Yankees.
Cover Those Bases wishes Fielder the best of luck with his health and off-the-field success in his post-playing days.