Prince Fielder, who is on the disabled list with a herniated disc in his neck, has been told he should undergo surgery, after meeting with Dr. Drew Dossett today, according to Jon Daniels. Prince would be expected to miss the rest of the 2016 season if he has surgery.
This is, I think, what we all expected, though now we have confirmation. Daniels said they don't expect it to impact their trade deadline priorities, with hitting depth being a strength. However, you do have to wonder how this will impact the team's offseason planning.
We have talked before about Joey Gallo likely being in line to take over at first base in 2017, although he's also been rumored to be subject to trade talks. While the way Gallo has been handled this year would lead one to wonder how sold the organization really is on him, at least in terms of contributing immediately, if there are questions about Prince's availability or his ability to produce in 2017, it would seem to make moving Gallo that much less likely. You could conceivably justify dealing him with the argument that Nomar Mazara and Shin-Soo Choo have the corner outfield spots nailed down, and Prince could handle 1B or DH, with Jurickson Profar taking the other spot.
But Prince is now in a situation where, you would think, he is at least a question mark for 2017. Choo's injury history is such that you have to wonder how often he'll be able to take the field in 2017, and Josh Hamilton is, one would think, a non-factor. With those guys not being able to be counted on, it potentially means Gallo goes from a luxury who could potentially be dealt to a necessity.
In any case, this also seems to eliminate the possibility of Prince getting dealt this offseason. It was already a situation where, if he were going to be dealt, the Rangers would have to eat the vast majority of his contract...now, though, Texas is most likely going to have to ride it out with him through next season. If he can't perform, they stick him on the d.l. and get at least some insurance money back. If he can, well, you take it from there...