Putting whatever amount of stock you choose into various published “reports”, it seems the Texas Rangers are out of the Prince Fielder sweepstakes. If the Rangers are truly “out” on Fielder, that leaves only the Washington Nationals and, um, Baltimore Orioles (?) vying for the services of the free agent masher.
That is, of course, if you truly believe these suggests and whispers originating from the various media markets. It isn’t as though teams have a vested interest in driving down the price of the Prince. A smart move until, when his deal in finalized and publicized, we all realize none of the trickery and misdirection prevented the former Brewers first baseman from signing a multi-year deal with nearly $200 million dollars.
The Orioles interest in Prince Fielder makes sense only when considered through the particular Orioles worldview. Adding a very good (if limited) player might not help them win too many more games but, hey, he sure is famous!
Fielder makes sense for the Nationals in a vacuum and if defense wasn’t a real thing. Unfortunately, it is! Without a DH spot to hide one of Fielder or Mike Morse, the Jayson Werth in center field train is leaving the station. Mind the (fly balls towards the) gap!
It is the player’s prerogative (and agent’s job) to get as much money for as long a term as they possibly can. It is a team’s job to acquire as much talent as possible. As easy as it is to kill the Orioles or Nats for throwing good money after bad and squandering time and assets by paying top dollar on the open market for a player that, in the interim, doesn’t bring them much closer to the ultimate organizational goal of winning championships, a deal with one of these clubs signing Prince Fielder isn’t a bad move in the absolute. Adding a player like Prince certainly increases the net talent in each team’s system and that is never a bad thing, is it?
The Nationals could turn in a decent facsimile of the last year’s Brewers team: heavy offense and strong enough starting pitching to overwhelm their more-balanced divisional rivals. With Fielder in the mix, what is to say the Nationals don’t make a run at the post-season?
Oh, right, The Phillies and Braves, each armed with a superlative pitching staff. The distinct lack of Pirates and Astros in the division. That. That hurt their chances.
Some still believe the Blue Jays represent the best potential landing spot for Prince Fielder. “Some” being those people who see a not-very-good hitter penciled in at first base and a team that sits on the cusp of (potentially) being very good. These people see Fielder as a 5 WAR fast track that, best farm system in baseball or otherwise, inserts the Jays squarely into the conversation in the American League during Jose Bautista’s peak instead of waiting for prospects as any potential window slowly shuts.
Those people, unfortunately for Jays fans, do not run the Blue Jays. Nor do they count the beans at Rogers Inc. Nor do they see free agency as Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos does: as a fool’s errand. Which is to say…it ain’t happening.
MLB Trade Rumors (linked above) list a myriad of potential other situations for Fielder such as taking a one-year deal to jump into the market again when potential big spenders like the Dodgers and Mets might be ready to toss their weight around. Which would be awesome and, possibly, the most hubristic move ever in the history of free agency and possibly the world. Therefore I am all for it.
Wherever Prince ends up, he certainly makes his new team better while drawing the Hot Stove Season to an anticlimactic close. Edwin Jackson, the most average pitcher in the history of pitchers and averages, surely does not rate.