Prince Fielder: king of the bottom feeders thanks to Scott Boras. Why is the consensus second best free agent for the 2011-2012 class, ranked only behind only Albert Pujols, still out there? What is keeping him from signing? He has been in contact and had contracts offered to him by what seems like half the team in major league baseball. Why isn’t he on someone’s roster yet?
Let’s look at his contract desire. He wants $25 million or more, and rumor has it that he wanted a 10-year deal, but it appears now that a six-year contract is all he is likely to get – due to his size and his mediocrity at 1st base.
Production wise Prince Fielder is worth $25 million per, but at 300-plus pounds, logic says his days at 1st base are numbered. And Fielder’s not a top 10 draw in baseball no matter how many homers he hits so, 10 years is out of the question unless you’re buying what Boras is selling, and if you are… may I suggest some Cottonelle or Charmin?
The usual suspects like the Yankees and Red Sox could afford him, but just don’t need him. That leaves Texas and the dregs. The Cubs, Seattle, Toronto, the Orioles, Miami and the Nationals all could use him. However the Rangers just signed Japanese sensation Yu Darvish for 6 years and $60 million and they have Mitch Moreland who was once considered one of the top 1st base prospects in all of baseball. Also, power isn’t something the Rangers need and Moreland projects as a better defensive first baseman. And why sacrifice at bats from one of the most underrated hitters in the game in Michael Young? Fielder would cost more than just money for the Rangers. I say it’s a bad move for the Rangers.
Toronto might make sense. The Blue Jays love power, and while they have Adam Lind who hit 26 homers last season at first…
Prince would bring in fans with his 38 homers, but the big thing is his on-base percentage, which was .415 to Lind’s .295. And Fielder is a bonafide RBI machine. The Blue Jays however don’t really need more offense. They need better starting pitching, and they need a real leadoff hitter. When you add that Fielder will be $25 million for six to 10 years, I again say bad move.
Baltimore needs Prince Fielder for his offense and for his crowd appeal. But Baltimore is so far away from being a contender that they would have to offer him more than $25 million or more than six seasons to attract him, and would he want to sign just for the money? VERY BAD MOVE!
Miami has spent like they were the Yankees this offseason. But with a new stadium, a solid pitching staff and wasting money on Jose Reyes, the Marlins don’t have the money for Fielder. Gaby Sanchez is a mediocre player at best and Fielder would have made a lot of sense in Miami for publicity. It would have been a perfect place to live with great weather and he would have paid no state income tax on $150 million to $250 million dollars! To me it looks like Boras sold Fielder on 10 years, and Pujols kind of clout, and has left him holding a bag of magic beans. Can a 300 pound Fielder climb the beanstalk Jack?
The Cubs were my team of choice going into the offseason. I believe he would have fit with them because he’s all offense and little defense, plus the questionable attitude (talking about leaving Milwaukee well before the season was close to over) makes him a Soriano, Sosa, and Zambrano kind of ME FIRST ball player. They acquired Anthony Rizzo and also have Bryan LaHair, who has been a minor league monster, so no adding Fielder seems out of the question.
Furthermore Chicago seems to be too discombobulated even with Theo Epstein there to pull off this move. I say it’s a solid move for the Cubs, but they won’t do it.
This leaves us with the two big time teams bidding for his services. One of those two teams doesn’t need him, except for the draw, and the other needs him so desperately that if another team offers Prince five years they almost have to offer him six or seven. The Nationals, who have drawn huge buzz as the speculated team for Mr. Fielder, makes sense to me only from a fandom sense.
The Nationals have Stephen Strasburg who will bring in fans. They have a very under-appreciated offense with Ryan Zimmerman at 3rd base, Bryce Harper coming up soon, an excellent young catcher in Wilson Ramos (yes the kidnapping victim), Mike Morse who had a breakout season with 31 homers, and, coming off of injury, Adam LaRoche, who is also capable of hitting 20 plus homers with gold glove caliber defense.
Morse is 6’5 270 pounds and can play right field with LaRoche back. For under a million dollars last season Morse was in the top 10 in six major offensive categories in the National League last year.
If I’m the Nationals I hold off on signing Fielder unless he comes down in price and years. How can Boras backtrack now and tell a guy who hit .299 with 38 homers in the prime of his career to lower his demands for both price or contract length? So my vote on the Nationals is: don’t do it, even though if you do the gates will be turning even on days when Strasburg isn’t pitching.
The best fit for him in the American League is in Seattle. Justin Smoak has been a joke. His offensive numbers are meager and his defense is mediocre. His drawing power is great if your last name is Smoak. Fielder becomes the face of the Mariners immediately. He becomes the focal point of their lineup. Ichiro is now 38 years old and coming off of his worst season as a professional. And King Felix is not getting any younger. I see Seattle as the best spot for him now. The Mariners just added Jesus Montero from the Yankees who is going to be an offensive force, and if you put him in the three hole in front of Prince and behind Ichiro and Mike Carp, add a healthy Franklin Gutierrez for 2012 and you get a major league lineup that can at least score enough runs to let Hernandez win more than half of his games.
I want to add Milwaukee into this very quickly. Yes, they need him. While the money is disquieting for a small-market team, with the reigning MVP set to miss 50 games for banned substances. Without Fielder, the Brewers will be resigned to smaller crowds and no hope for the playoffs.
It’s a long-shot, but at this point Fielder almost has to consider it an option. He would be lying to himself if he thought he would be going to the playoffs anytime soon in Seattle. Texas could strike oil and afford him or the Yankees could come out of nowhere – it wouldn’t be the first time that has happened. But I wouldn’t bet money on it.
National Sports Advisors hasn’t released their odds for the World Series yet (due Feb. 5th), but the Rangers were 5th, Milwaukee was 15th and the Cubs were 18th last year. The rest of the teams mentioned filled out the bottom 3rd of the league nicely.
Prince would have to take a discount to stay at Milwaukee, or possibly to go to the Rangers who don’t actually need him. His other option is to be a hired gun for the most money to the rest of the worst – and of those options, only the Nationals and Blue Jays have even a remote shot at .500. Prince will have to have huge All-Star and MVP placement incentives in his contract because MVPs rarely come from the bottom of the league, which is where he’s most likely going to end up. If I were Prince, I’d re-sign with the Brewers, get paid a ton of money, and be a hero. But could his ego – and perhaps more importantly, could Boras’ ego – take it?