In a surprising move, the Tigers signed free-agent 1B Prince Fielder to a nine-year contract earlier this week. Get the Little Caesar's/fat Fielder jokes out of your system before we move on to the fantasy impact of this move. Ready? OK, good.
Fielder's fantasy value doesn't appear to be affected much by this deal. As friend of the blog Eno Sarris pointed out on RotoGraphs, Fielder's new home park will be less homer-friendly, but it shouldn't affect him too much. I've got Fielder as the fifth-ranked first baseman and 16th overall, and I'll keep him at those spots. He'll be hitting behind an excellent hitter in Miguel Cabrera, but he was already doing that in Milwaukee with Ryan Braun, so it's not like we can expect tons more RBI opportunities.
The big fantasy news here is about Cabrera, who will become the Tigers' everyday third baseman, according to manager Jim Leyland. Cabrera can't be drafted at the hot corner in most formats, but he should qualify there sometime in April (FOXSports.com rules require 10 games at a new position in-season before a player qualifies there). If you're in a league with bench players, you can draft Cabrera early, get another starting first baseman along the way, and ignore your third-base slot until the end of the draft. Within a couple of weeks, you'll be able to shift Cabrera and ditch your other third baseman.
My rankings have Cabrera as the top-ranked first baseman, and fourth player overall behind Matt Kemp, Troy Tulowitzki and Jacoby Ellsbury. As tempting as it might be to move Cabrera up, I'm going to leave the speedy guys in the top three slots. In a keeper league - where Cabrera is likely to have third-base eligibility on Draft Day 2013 - I'd move him into the No. 3 spot ahead of Ellsbury.
The other player who becomes more interesting as a result of this deal is Tigers OF Delmon Young. Young's swing-at-anything ways have made him somewhat of a disappointment, but he has a .288 career batting average, and he's going to bat fifth behind Cabrera (.395 career on-base percentage) and Fielder (.390 career OBP). There's going to be a lot of ducks on the pond for Young; I smell 90-100 RBI.
Finally, those of you in NL-only leagues should grab Joey Votto in the first round if he's available - I'd probably rank him second behind Troy Tulowitzki. After Votto, your next first-base options are Lance Berkman, Mike Morse, Freddie Freeman and Ryan Howard (who is expected to miss at least a quarter of the season). Ugh.