Blog Entry

Prince Fielder intrigue continues to build

Posted on: January 11, 2012 5:10 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 7:07 pm
So why hasn't Prince Fielder signed yet while Albert Pujols has been sitting back and counting that 10-year, $254 million deal for weeks?

Plenty of reasons. Mostly, as Boras would tell you, because the market is still developing.

Start with the fact that the two clubs who in recent years have helped establish the ga-zillion dollar markets -- the Yankees and Red Sox -- are sitting this one out. New York has a long-term first baseman in Mark Teixeira, as Boston does with Adrian Gonzalez.

Beyond them, only a small handful of clubs can play ball at Fielder's asking price. Which, you can be sure, is a dollar or two more than Pujols is getting annually from the Angels.

From the start, barring a stunning early offer, Boras was in no hurry to sign Fielder. It was clear that Pujols would sign, the bar would be set, and then Boras/Fielder would look to exceed it.

Within that, as Boras has explained many times this winter, free agents at this level are ownership decisions. As he did when he represented Alex Rodriguez in 2000 and scored the 10-year, $252 million deal, Boras meets directly with owners (then-Rangers owner Tom Hicks, in that case).

That, too, takes time.

With the Yankees, Red Sox and Angels out, the Cubs, Mets and Dodgers are among the few who could afford Fielder.

The Cubs are under new management, and president Theo Epstein philosophically does not believe in awarding long-term contracts to the tune of seven, eight or more years to free agents. Consequently, they acquired Anthony Rizzo from the Padres this month, the idea being Rizzo will be Chicago's first baseman of the future.

The Mets and Dodgers, of course, have serious financial issues of their own. The Mets, who lost Jose Reyes to the Marlins this winter, are rebuilding and broke. The Dodgers are in the process of being sold.

So that leaves the next tier of suitors. And one other key component: With the Yankees and Red Sox on the sidelines, there is nobody to help drive up the price up via a bidding war.

Boras met with the Nationals several weeks ago. Those two have done several multi-million dollar deals in recent years, including the $126 million Jayson Werth contract last winter, and deals with recent top draft picks Stephen Strasburg (four-years, $15 million) and Bryce Harper (five years, $9.9 million).

The Mariners desperately need a middle-of-the-lineup bat. But whether the M's would spend that kind of dough remains to be seen ... as does whether Fielder would want to play in Safeco Field, notorious for diluting offensive numbers.

Asked at the winter meetings last month whether his client had a geographical presence, Boras quipped, "I just think he likes fences that are close to home plate. That's the geographics he likes."

Baltimore is another city that continues to be linked with Fielder. The Orioles are desperate for a clean-up hitter, not to mention a winner. Owner Peter Angelos has the money, though he is notoriously slow in wading through the free agent market.

Texas? The Rangers' deadline for signing pitcher Yu Darvish is next week. Some industry sources think the Rangers are holding off on Fielder while they negotiate with the Japanese free agent. Then, they'll either go full bore after Fielder if they don't sign Darvish (unlikely, they're expected to sign the pitcher) or see if there's a way to fit Fielder in after signing the pitcher.

The Blue Jays? Hmmm ... interesting thought, and lots of speculation surrounding them. Maybe the exchange rate is slowing those talks down.

Milwaukee remains in on the fringes, but only if the price falls.

Always, with Boras, there is the threat of a "mystery team" stepping up. No other agent in the game is as skilled at luring suitors down the path ... and then obtaining a pot of gold ... as Boras.

But now, as it gets deeper into January and an industry awaits Fielder's decision, it may take Boras' biggest play yet to get what he and his client want.

Since: Nov 5, 2008
Posted on: January 26, 2012 4:37 pm

Prince Fielder intrigue continues to build

Exactly what i said should happen to the yanks with this prince guy happened to the tigers.  they move their 1b to 3b and have a heavy hitter to play 1st and dh at times.  i know obviously money is an issue but common.  winning is everything.  tigers beat the yanks in the playoffs.  now their team only got better.  this guy would have made his money back in jerseys alone. no brainer yanks.  you have the pockets for it.  dont sign kim jones contract....oh wait your not....

Since: Sep 5, 2008
Posted on: January 20, 2012 9:27 am

Prince Fielder intrigue continues to build

The Rangers are the only team in the market right now.  Fielder won't go to Balt, not only does he want the highest or second highest contract in baseball, he also wants the ring or rings (like Albert has).  Without taking a team to the very top, being the higheset paid means nothing except to his banker.  Balt is out, all the possible second tier teams are out for the same reason.  He shunned Mil, the Mets fall in the first category, the Dodgers are lost for a few years, that leaves Texas.  But, there is the heat of August and Sept, they are also going to have to get Hamilton back, and because of contracts will probabaly only be good for another two to three years so if he doesn't win it all, and soon, category one comes back up.  Better sign Prince, and sign fast.

Since: Dec 14, 2008
Posted on: January 18, 2012 10:12 am

Prince Fielder intrigue continues to build

"Theo Epstein philosophically does not believe in awarding long-term contracts to the tune of seven, eight or more years to free agents."

Really?  Didn't he give Crawford $142 for 7 and Gonzalez another $154 for 7?

Boras is going to hand his client here.  It will be hard to gin-up a market at the asking price he wants.  I can't see anyone in the NL going over $168 for 8.  Thats $21 per and makes him a FA at 35.  Anything above that or for more years is not in the best interest of any franchise.  There are too many risks and the comparisions to his dad are very relevant. 

Since: Jul 18, 2008
Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:42 pm

Prince Fielder intrigue continues to build

And what did Mauer do this last year?Laughing

Since: Jul 18, 2008
Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:39 pm

Prince Fielder intrigue continues to build

Yes I would love to see huff and puff in that Texas heat for one year. You can stack that team with all the hitters you want.But good pitching beats good hitting any time in the WS. The Rangers have proven that twice.

Since: Jul 22, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 12:30 pm

Prince Fielder intrigue continues to build

 FYI. The value difference between the Canadian dollar and American dollar is less than two cents. I think, like you say in the article, it would be an ownership decision for the Jays. Exchange rate is not a factor. As of today 1 CD is worth .987 cents US !

Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2012 10:57 am

Prince Fielder intrigue continues to build

It'd be a joke if someone paid Fielder more than Pujols.  He is a great player, but if you want Pujols money, you better put up Pujols numbers and be able to field 1B like Pujols can.

Fielder picked the wrong time to be a free agent, as all the big market teams are set at 1B.   He'll be lucky to get 5 years at 20 million a year. 

Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: January 16, 2012 7:36 am

Prince Fielder intrigue continues to build

Come on now Fatty sign already !!!!

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:09 pm

Prince Fielder intrigue continues to build

Fielder is worth every bit as much as Joe Mauer got, though not what Pujols got.  So, 8 years around $190m is a realistic goal for him.  We'll see if there is a team who can spend that kind of money this year.  He's an overwhelming hitter who draws a ton of walks to go with the HRs.  He has also become a more complete hitter punching hits to left when he needs to.  The weight critics don't really know what they are talking about.  Fielder is a football player who hits baseballs.  He'll be fine until his mid to late 30s, though probably a DH at the end.  My guess, he gets 6 years $145m with a option to leave after five, which coincides with Tex being done in NY, in essence giving him two shots at free agency down the road.  Don't be surprised if the market comes down to that if the Brewers keep him.

Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: January 14, 2012 10:04 am

Prince Fielder intrigue continues to build

Unfortunately his weight problem is too big of a risk for a long term deal.  He will have to settle for a shorter term contract with a mid tierm team.  

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