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Scott Boras met with the Nationals owners last night

Jan 12, 2012, 8:21 AM EDT

Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that Nationals owners Ted and Mark Lerner met with Prince Fielder‘s agent, the one and only Scott Boras, last night at the owners meetings. Kilgore’s sources don’t know the details of the conversation, but my guess is that they weren’t reminiscing about how swell the Jayson Werth contract has been.

This just underscores what I was saying yesterday about how that report that there is a “99% chance that the Nats won’t sign Fielder” is all about posturing.  The Lerners likely knew they were meeting with Boras last night. Before that meeting they wanted to float some negativity regarding their interest and give themselves some sort of negotiating advantage, so someone tells someone else that they’re not all that interested, frankly.

Not that these things really impact sophisticated negotiators like Boras, but it’s how the game is played.

  1. proudlycanadian - Jan 12, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    So far, Boras has had a very bad off season. In this market, greed is not good.

  2. paperlions - Jan 12, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    Most GMs no longer overpay for guys whose production is not that hard to replace (like 99.9% of relievers) or based on one great season when a player has a history of inconsistency….and most also no longer offer crazy years for players over 30 or guys that don’t project to age well (like Fielder). You can still get decent AAV for players if you are willing to do 1 or 2 year deals…but longer term deals with high AAV are mostly reserved for the truly elite players now. Boras just hasn’t adapted to the smarter approach of GMs, yet.

    • stex52 - Jan 12, 2012 at 10:23 AM

      I believe that you are correct; gross examples to the contrary (Werth, Wilson). Prince seems like he just should have come on the market a few years sooner when people were still crazy. In the long run I wonder whether the elite guys will pull it off. Crawford has been a one year disaster. Teixeira has shown a definite fall-off. And I don’t know of anyone on this site that thinks Pujols is worth the annual money for more than five years. In the long run I see them developing the tools that project performance and injuries. You don’t invest in companies based on past performance, you invest on future projections. In the future GM’s will develop the tools to do the same. Then players will get longer contracts based on lower AAV’s.

      This is leading me toward a discussion I would like to have about WAR, but I will save it for another post.

  3. kopy - Jan 12, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Desperation is unattractive, Mr. Boras.

  4. natstowngreg - Jan 12, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Thanks for the head start on reading the morning paper. I won’t need to read Kilgore’s piece.

    The only new and interesting thing is the Lerners meeting with an agent. According to Kilgore, for the first time. The Lerners have a reputation as tough, no-nonsense businessmen. We’ll see how Boras fares with them.

    Washington isn’t like Kansas City or Pittsburgh; it’s a big market. At first, it looked like the Lerners might operate like a small-market team. Extending Ryan Zimmerman, making a big bid on Mark Teixeira, and overpaying Jayson Werth changed that perception some. Signing Prince Fielder would be another major step forward — though I still don’t favor giving Prince what he wants.

    Still, there are concerns. As Kilgore wrote last week, will the Lerners give Prince a big contract and extend Zimmerman? Or, will their concerns about making profits make them pull back and risk losing the face of the franchise? Stay tuned.

    • chadjones27 - Jan 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM

      Was it Rizzo or the Lerners who agreed to give Jayson Werth that ridiculous contract? If it was the Lerners, I’d say Boras would fare pretty well. I’m sure the ownership agreed to that deal so i doubt either side has the upper hand. Although, I tend to think that the team has advantage. They don’t “need” Prince. They “want” Prince. Like negotiating with a used car dealer.
      And I’m assuming if they give Prince a long term deal, he’ll be the face of the franchise and Zimmerman will take a back seat. If this deal does go down (whether long or short deal), it should make for an interesting NL East for the next couple years.

      • natstowngreg - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:27 PM

        Rizzo negotiates the contracts, the Lerners approve them. If the Lerners are doing the negotiating, Boras may have a harder time. These are the folks who refused to pay rent on Nats Park for months because it wasn’t 100% completed.

        What’s unclear is WHY the Lerners decided to get involved. As Adam Kilgore suggested the other day, the Werth contract probably makes the Lerners leery about agreeing to another big contract. The Lerners may have gotten involved to make sure they get Prince as cheaply as possible, but that’s just speculation.

        Prince would be the Nats’ biggest star, but Ryan Zimmerman is the face of the franchise. He’s the most popular player and the original National — the first player the Nats drafted.

    • dcfan4life - Jan 12, 2012 at 3:08 PM

      At the time of the Jason Werth contract the Nationals decided to over pay him to show they are willing to pay for talent. Werths lack of protection in the lineup hurt (he did not see a lot of good pitches) and Michael Morse ended up breaking out. Now that the Nationals have become competitive, and can sign top talent anyways, they dont need to overpay anyone. And with the market for Prince being NOTHING what he thought it would be, the Nats can really play hardball. Especially since the Nats have Adam Laroche coming back at first and dont necessarily need Fielder.

  5. shawnuel - Jan 12, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Smart move by the Lerners, considering how Rizzo bends over whenever in Boras’ company. Good to get a clear perspective on things.

  6. mojosmagic - Jan 12, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    Funny people were all over the Phillies for Papplebaun vs Madson yet it looks like the Pujos was grossly overpaid by the Angels. Who were they bidding against?

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