Prince Fielder is in Texas because he wanted to be. It was up to the slugger to determine whether to allow Wednesday's blockbuster trade to get finalized and he gave his consent in a phone conversation with Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski.
"I thought it would be good for everyone," Fielder said Thursday afternoon in a conference call with Rangers beat writers. "I just wanted everyone to be happy."
Fielder said he knew the Rangers were a good team and that he'd be going to a contender. He said he wasn't too surprised, noting that the game is a business and trades happen.
For the 29-year-old first baseman, the trade means a chance at start over a bit in his career.
"It's definitely different," Fielder said. "It's going to be new. I'll take it. It's a fresh start. I'm just happy to be with Texas and hopefully we can have a good year."
Fielder goes to a new team in a new division and a chance at new beginnings following a season of struggles. He put up some of the worst offensive numbers of his career -- though to put that in perspective, he still had 25 homers and 106 RBIs and hit .279 -- and went through a divorce. He couldn't get into a rhythm at the plate in the playoffs and didn't drive in a single run as the Tigers fell in the ALCS. Then Fielder bothered some Tigers' fans with his perceived nonchalant reaction to the club's early postseason departure.
"I enjoyed my teammates and I'll miss the fans," Fielder said. "I'm happy to start anew in Texas."
The nine-year deal he signed prior to the 2012 season brought him back to his roots, playing for the team that his father, Cecil, had starred for during his career. But the homecoming just didn't work out.
Fielder didn't want to dwell on that Thursday, opting to look ahead rather than behind.
"Life is what it is," Fielder said when asked about his tough 2013 campaign. "You can't take it back. We went to the playoffs. We, unfortunately, didn't get where we wanted to go."
Fielder expressed excitement in playing for manager Ron Washington and in getting to swing his left-handed bat toward a short right-field porch at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. His comfort level with his new club and his desire to come to Texas was helped by the fact that he met with GM Jon Daniels, assistant GM Thad Levine and others during a visit two years ago as he was testing the free-agent market.
"Everybody was really nice and I liked those guys," Fielder said. "That definitely didn't hurt."
As for playing every day (he's been one of the more durable players in the big leagues the past eight seasons), Fielder said his desire is to "play every day until I can't." He added that he's not concerned about the Texas heat.
"For me, whenever it's warm, I feel loose and better," Fielder said. "It's going to be hot."
That's for sure. The Rangers hope Fielder's bat is hot as well.