The Rangers announced that they have released first baseman Prince Fielder. With the move, the club will be able to utilize a 40-man roster spot that had previously been tied up owing to financial considerations.

Fielder had previously announced that he would no longer play after undergoing neck fusion surgery late in the 2016 season. But the veteran slugger did not formally retire at that time, as he is still entitled to earn $24MM per season through 2020 under the massive free-agent deal he signed back in 2012 with the Tigers.

Of course, a big chunk of that salary was being paid by the Tigers and, since the surgery, an insurer. Cutting Fielder loose would have opened a roster spot, but also would have meant sacrificing the right to collect an estimated $9MM annually.