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Does Prince Fielder want to join the teams who want him most?

Sep 19, 2011, 3:36 PM EST

National League first baseman Fielder of the Brewers watches three-run home run in fourth inning during Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in Phoenix Reuters

Jon Heyman’s latest column ranks the potential Prince Fielder post-free agency destinations. In order: the Orioles, Cubs, Rangers, Nationals, Dodgers, Brewers Mariners Cardinals and Marlins.

Question: would Prince Fielder really want to go to most of these teams?  The O’s, Cubs, Mariners and Marlins are in the competitive wilderness right now. The Dodgers are broke. The Cardinals would be intriguing, but they happen to have a first base free agent they’d likely prefer to keep.  The Nationals are likewise intriguing in that they’re probably closer to competitiveness than the other losing teams, but they’re not exactly poised to win now. Not yet.

The Rangers are the most interesting name in that they’re a winning team and one who has signed big names before, but I don’t know that we have anything close to a clear idea if they’ll be a big player in free agency.  A new TV deal in place could mean that they’ll spend more, but not necessarily.

I guess what I’m seeing here is that, with the Yankees and Red Sox likely not a big player for a first baseman, the market is as murky as hell.  Assuming that like most free agents, Prince Fielder wants to play for a winner, there’s no clear-cut destination. Some teams may win, some teams may pay, but it’s hard to identify anyone who would do both.

  1. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    He’s best off going where he’s most intrigued, with a pricetag in the $140MM range.

    What team that would be is beyond me. Please no Cubs though. I’d rather put LaHair at 1B and sign a fantastic rotation and right fielder.

    • Lukehart80 - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:26 PM

      Yeah, just go out and “sign a fantastic rotation.”

      Easy enough.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Sep 20, 2011 at 12:12 AM

        I don’t recall saying it was easy. I’d just rather the money focus be there.

    • bowens3181 - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:12 PM

      Or a certain potentially available 1B with the initials AP… cough cough

  2. epmckenna - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    If he wants to play for a competitive team that will pay him good, but maybe not the most, it’s probably best just to stay with the Brewers.

    • skipperxc - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:56 PM

      It’s the only hope the Brewers have, really. And based on his comments, he seems to mostly only care about the money.

  3. xmatt0926x - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    Im not a fan of any of the teams listed so going on a pure outsiders perspective I’d say the Rangers and the Nationals are good spots. The Nats really seemed to want to make moves in free agency and the trade deadline in the last couple years in preperation for the Strasburg/Harper era. They have a decent team now and with a top flight pitcher and Fielder could make some real noise in the division I think.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:57 PM

      Prince would look nice filling (rather, overfilling) a Nats uniform. The Werth contract shows that Rizzo can get the Lerners to open up their wallets. But Fielder might be out of their price range.

      There is an alternative way to go. Acquire another guy for the rotation and someone who can play good defense in CF (if he can bat lefty and get on base, so much the better). Move Michael Morse back to 1B and leave him there. When Harper is ready, put him in LF and leave him there. Sign Ryan Zimmerman to a long-term extension.

  4. xmatt0926x - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    I also wanted to mention that it’s a shame that the Brewers draw so well yet it looks like the ownership doesn’t want to pay to keep him. Some teams do well and the fans still don’t show up but the Brewers fans do seem to fill the park. Where’s all that money going? I get that they don’t want to do a $175 million payroll like the Phillies/Sox/Yankees, but why not $120 or so if your geting 3 million fans into the park?

    • schlom - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:20 PM

      It’s not that the Brewers don’t want Fielder, it’s just that they don’t want him at $20m+ a season.

    • paperlions - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:23 PM

      The Brewer owners DO put money into the team….attendance is important, but more than that…TV money is the foundation of baseball team income…and the Brewers are not in a market that draws a great TV deal. Their payroll is currently 17th in MLB, they signed Braun to an extension and plan on doing so with as many of their young pitchers as they can….the fact that they are not willing to over-pay a player with a profile that does not generally age well just shows that they are making smart decisions with the money they do spend.

      • Lukehart80 - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:28 PM

        Jonah Keri had a good piece on the Rangers a week or two ago, about how their new TV deal might turn them into a financial monster. Big attendance figures help, but the TV money can be a huge divider between the haves and have nots; Milwaukee is going to have a hard time keeping up there.

  5. baseballisboring - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    Angels could use him too, right? They have a big payroll and a nice rotation, not much offense, contended this year…I think they’re more likely than most of those teams.

    • yankeesgameday - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:41 PM

      I was going to say the Angels. You’re right.

  6. cur68 - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    Aww, Craig, c’mon, man. At least act like I comment on this thing once in a while, no? You know perfectly well that a certain commenter (moi) has proposed a destination for the Big Field. Do I have to spell it out? Do I? Why you do me like this? Was it the ‘hoist on your own petard’ thing from the ATH post? Did I make one too many comments about Tiffany being better looking than you (not taking any of those back BTW)?

    Look, we all know that there is one attractive team out there with resources and a talent pool that Fielder might like to be part of. The only issues on their end are if Bautista will put up with a guy with worse HR numbers over the past 2 years getting better money than him and if AA wants to shell out on a Wells-ian type contract. Then, for Prince, does he want to play for team that his old man once played for? Those Fielder guys don’t exactly get along.

    In many other ways this would be great signing. 1st base for the Jays needs some reliability both defensively and offensively. He’d be paid in Canadian dollars, which is worth more than the greenback, and he’d be in there with Bautista (a surrogate Braun, but with better numbers). Throw in Lawrie, the rest of the hitting crew and the emerging pitching rotation and he might bite at Toronto.

    At least admit its a better possibility than all the other listed teams. Or threaten to eat another heavy felt garment if he’s a Beaver Wrestler come spring. That’ll be ok, too.

    • Francisco (FC) - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:57 PM

      Cur… The Toronto pitching staff is in the ICU. More important than getting more offense it seems to me they have stabilize the pitching. The bullpen is a serious issue and you’re not going to win by blowing out the opponent every night. Having a monster offense is useless without some decent pitching to back it up, exhibit A, Boston Red Sox…

      • cur68 - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:24 PM

        No, no, Eff Cee. Don’t talk sense now. This about panic moves and a big splash. Not at all about dealing with the bull pen or anything reasonable. Its like Field of Dreams, see? Get Feilder and the World Series will come. Lets call the movie Fielder of Dreams then, eh?

      • Mark - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:33 PM

        While I agree that the SP is the Jays biggest issue heading into the offseason, the DH/1B slots shouldn’t be ignored. Lind ranks 22nd/24th for qualifying 1B for OPS. I’m kind of scared to look at where he’d rank based on wOBA, since yesterday was the last time I’ve seen him walk since June. Maybe you think he’s going to rebound, but I’m not so sure.

        The Jays absolutely need to upgrade the rotation. But adding Fielder behind Bautista means that the best hitter in the league might actually get a chance to hit with runners on. Or if they continue to pitch around him, the Jays might have a shot of somebody making them pay for pitching around Jose.

    • missthemexpos - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:35 PM

      I would not offer Fielder a contract larger than Bautista, spend the money on pitching, I look back at this season and see many games lost to shoddy pitching. The void from giving up Doc and Marcum in the last 2 years must be fixed. As for hitters gone in the same time period, Wells and Rios, I see that as addition by subtraction.

  7. nathanontheshore - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    Any votes for Boston dropping Ortiz and going after Fielder?

    • southpaw2k - Sep 20, 2011 at 8:23 AM

      And do what, have the Red Sox spend $140 million on a DH? Or have Fielder split time with Gonzalez at 1B? I’m not sure which of those ideas makes less sense.

  8. bigtrav425 - Sep 19, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    20 million plus a yr for anyone in any sport is insane

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 19, 2011 at 6:46 PM

      why?

  9. yarguy - Sep 19, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    Angels – when your firstbaseman is hitting below .260 with OBP below .300 you really should do something (even if he has 27 homers and 82 ribbies).

  10. stinkfist5 - Sep 19, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    I really really hope that the O’s go all out on Fielder. We need a power hitter who doesn’t strike out every 3rd at bat. That being said…our neighbors down south will probably get him…Damn Nats are always in better position to better their team…Stras,Harper…not to mention Ted Leonsis actually spends quality money on quality players(Werth isnt the best, but he isnt Werthless either.) Oh boy am I jealous of DC.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 19, 2011 at 9:19 PM

      A few notes:

      – Ted Leonsis doesn’t own the Nats. He owns the Capitals and Wizards. Ted Lerner and his family own the Nats.

      – The Nats got Strasburg and Harper because they were the worst team in MLB two years in a row. Granted, if the Lerners had been cheap, they might have passed over Strasburg and Harper. But they didn’t, and ponied up the money to sign them.

      – Washington is not a small market, ranking as the #9 TV market. But it will take some winning before the front-runners start showing up at park and watching the games on TV.

      http://www.stationindex.com/tv/tv-markets

      • Cris E - Sep 20, 2011 at 10:47 AM

        There’s trouble with with TV deal in WAS though. It turns out a huge slab of their revenues from that were the cost of gaining access to DC, so Angelos is getting a lot of it. I’m not sure how many years that lasts, but market size just tells you how big the pie is that they’re serving to the Orioles.

      • natstowngreg - Sep 20, 2011 at 6:52 PM

        You’re correct about the deal, though I don’t know how long it lasts either.

        But the ironic thing about that deal is, the Nats have the worst TV viewership in MLB. Last estimate I saw was 14,000 — up from 9,000 a couple of years ago. So Angelos can’t be making a whole lot of cash off televising the Nats.

        For Angelos to make a lot of money off MASN, he needs the Nats — the team he tried to keep out of the DC market — to win more and generate more revenue. He also needs to stop screwing up his own team.

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