Sportress of Blogitude

Prince Fielder training hard this offseason, claims to be in the best shape of his life (video)

In something of a puff piece about Prince Fielder from ESPN, the new Texas Rangers slugger is shown hitting the gym hard, performing a variety of unconventional drills including some MMA-inspired workouts.

Fielder appears to be noticeably slimmer and tells the very perky Toni Collins that he is in the best shape of his life. While that’s not saying much, given Fielder always has been a portly fellow, any effort Fielder is putting in to getting in better shape has to be viewed as a positive, especially for the Rangers, who traded away Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers for the slugger.

And while the Rangers did receive $30 million from the Tigers to help pay a portion of the remaining seven years on Fielder’s contract which pays him $24 million annually, that’s still a hefty some of money for a hefty ballplayer. Albeit, if this strenuous workout kick keeps up, a less hefty one, who in a season often referred to as a “down” year, nevertheless slugged out 25 home runs and knocked in 106 RBI.

But the bad taste in Fielder’s mouth — other than a possible reliance on nasty-tasting whey protein shakes — was how he drastically underperformed in the playoffs last season, where the power-hitting run-producer didn’t have a home run nor an RBI in the playoffs with Detroit’s postseason ending with a thud courtesy in no small part to Fielder going 4-22 in the ALCS.

Just imagine if Fielder keeps the weight off and remains in the best shape of his life. We’re talking huge numbers. Or a huge drop-off due to a sudden lack of girth that has served him well throughout his career. The Rangers certainly are banking on the former, not the latter.

[H/T Hardball Talk]