This season has not been kind to the Texas Rangers, as they have literally been the walking wounded. The injuries just continue to pile up in Arlington. The latest victim is Ranger’s first basemen Prince Fielder who, as of yesterday, is expected to undergo season ending neck surgery to repair a herniated disc. The prospect of surgery was recommended following a visit to a spine specialist earlier this week as his symptoms worsened. The recovery time following such a surgery is around three to four months, effectively taking him away from all baseball activities for the remainder of the season.
Fielder, who is in his first season with the Rangers, was traded this off season from the Detroit Tigers as part of a blockbuster deal that sent Ian Kinsler to the Tigers. The trade also cleared Fielder’s contract off the Tigers’ books. It was inherited by the Rangers who’ll have him until 2020, at a rate of $24 million per season.
So far this season, over the course of 42 games and 150 at-bats, Fielder is currently holding onto a .247 batting average with just 3 home runs and 16 RBI. Prior to the news of the injury it appeared that Fielder’s decline as a ballplayer was simply continuing, following a drop in performance last season with the Detroit.
It seems increasingly likely that the injury is what has been impacting Fielder’s performance on the field. For one thing, this injury will put an end to his iron man like seasons. He had an average of starting in 157 games a year for each the past three seasons.
Interestingly, it could have also been something that the Tigers were aware of at the end of the 2013 season, leading them to agree to the trade between the two teams.
For now Mitch Moreland will be at first base for remainder of the season, unless the Rangers make a move to bring in someone via a trade or even sign free agent Kendrys Morales. This injury is just another brick in the wall for the Rangers. The team has lost a number of players including Jurickson Profar to a shoulder injury, Derek Holland to a knee injury and many others to various ailments, including a couple of pitchers to the Tommy John surgery epidemic that is sweeping through baseball. The team has literally been ravaged by injuries and it is only May. It already appears that the Rangers are in for a long year in 2014.