Fielder to Tigers; Brewers get 27th pick in Draft

It’s been obvious for months, but on Tuesday it became reality. Prince Fielder, drafted by the Brewers nine years ago and developed into one of baseball’s most feared sluggers, is moving on.

Fielder has reportedly struck a nine-year, $214 megadeal with the Tigers first reported by CBSSports.com, pending a physical exam. It would end a Milwaukee tenure that dates back to June 2002, when the Brewers made Fielder the seventh overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft.

Tuesday was a sad day for Fielder’s many fans in Wisconsin, but the silver lining was that his long-expected departure could help Milwaukee bolster its next wave of talent. He was a Type A free agent, so the Brewers will get Detroit’s first-round pick in the 2012 Draft, plus a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds. Because the Brewers already owned the 28th overall pick by virtue of their 2011 regular-season record, Milwaukee will own back-to-back selections in next year’s first round.

But the big league club has a huge hole to fill. Fielder is a three-time All-Star, three times finished in the top four in National League MVP balloting and exits with 230 home runs, second in Brewers history only to Hall of Famer Robin Yount.

Fielder is also the Brewers’ all-time leader with a .390 on-base percentage, ranks second (to longtime teammate Ryan Braun) with a .540 slugging percentage and third with 566 walks. He’s sixth in club history with 656 RBIs, though every member of the top five played at least 150 games more in a Brewers uniform than Fielder’s 998.

“He’s been our franchise,” said Milwaukee right fielder Corey Hart. “He’s a star. He’s a game-changer. Having him made our team scary.”

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