As far as we know, two teams circle the one chair, the music stops ... and the Cubs wave their hand and walk off.  Naaaaaahhhhhh.   ... can anybody even tell me who the second team is?  Seriously.  Number Two is now Boras' Rabbit Out of a Hat.

Grumpy sez,

Isn't it kind of worrisome that 29 other teams are NOT interested in Fielder? Are we missing something here?

My reaction too, Dr. G.  Cool Papa Bell, and a few others, had predicted a soft market from the very beginning.  Today he sez,

He's a bad long term fit for every NL club but that's just because of the rules. In the AL, the biggest spenders already have first base locked up and Toronto and Texas need pitching more than offense (and Texas doesn't seem to have the cash right now that every seems to think they do).

There just aren't a lot of teams that have the money to spend and are a good fit. The current situation was entirely predictable before the season so it shouldn't be scary that it has developed.

Would agree that the current situation was -- loosely -- predictable.  But we would all agree that the degree of downside here is alarming for Boras.

You and I are not privy to the back-channel negotiations.  Maybe the Cubs are talking sour grapes because the M's and Fielder are on the verge of a deal and they're crestfallen?


=== Big Guys and Long-Term Deals ===

I (Jeff) also have a defensive-lineman's body, a weekend warrior's lifestyle, and have gone through my 30's.  So am viscerally familiar with what it's like to be big (and, um, pretty strong, sorry 'bout dat), and .... to get old.

Tell you something you can take to the bank.  The one thing you gotta watch with Prince, is that his legs are going to start hurting, and like in a few years.  That's already adjusting for the fact that he's a world-class athlete and I, of course, ain't.

You weigh 300 lbs, and you ain't 24 years old any more, what happens is this.  You make an explosive movement and your hammy or your calf pops.  Boom, you're down a week or 10 days.

It's not like Prince won't be able to hit the ball 450 feet at age 35.  He will be able to.  And it's not like pain in his legs will sap his ability.  It won't.  We big guys don't move our CG's all that much anyway, not compared to Ichiro or Ackley.  We turn our hips and butts and apply our chests and biceps to the action.  It works, even when you're hurting.


But he'll develop hammy and calf problems, maybe knee problems, and this guy is a serious question to play first base in the major leagues, at age 30 much less age 33.

In my view, that is what we are seeing here.  We are seeing NL GM's pass on the idea of Prince Fielder play first base in five years.  Not only will he be playing on pulled hamstrings, but his range will become a laughingstock.  You thought Adam Dunn caught flak, his last year at 1B?


Q.  Why didn't Boras anticipate this?  How did it come out of thin air on him?

A.  Well, how many Prince Fielders have there been?  Isn't he the first real big guy to ask for 8-10 years?

I think Boras just didn't have his bearings on the big guy and the long contract.  Wow!  Scott Boras overlooked something important.

It is extremely embarrassing for Scott Boras right now, because he sold Fielder > Pujols, and teams are wandering off in disgust.  He may need to wrap this up soon.


Q.  Can Prince stay on the field, with the DH?

A.  Again, based on my personal feeling based on my own body, I don't have the slightest doubt that he could play 8+ years as a 1B/DH.

Edgar Martinez is a precedent here.  Some guys here are probably not aware that The Edgar missed two straight seasons, ages 30 and 31, based on leg injuries etc.  They moved him to DH and he practically never missed another game.

I love the idea of Prince, 50 games a year at 1B and 100 at DH, starting age 30 or so.


Baseball people are seriously biased against overweight players, and Prince Fielder is overweight-squared.  Seattle fans are just lucky that Jack Zduriencik gets it.


Q.  What's the status quo?

A.  Well, maybe the M's are sticking their cash out, and Prince is going to wander off, take a very poor deal, and seal the M's rep as Baltimore NW - not just a losing franchise, but a dysfunctional one that has chosen its own cemetery.

But! maybe Boras is about to line up a shocker, and that's why teams are pulling out... for all we know, the M's are closing in on a deal.  They are the tightest-lipped franchise in baseball, that's all 30 teams.

Being the optimist that I am, I'll choose to read all the dropouts as --- > nobody around baseball wants to even deal with the M's offer.



Dr D


Taro's picture

The fact that Fielder is so undesirable for NL teams on a long-term deal is perfect for the Ms. Makes sense that he would end up with an AL team.
Hard to think of where Fielder would fit better than Seattle. Hopefully Texas and Toronto don't get involved.


6 years.....watch.
I wonder if anybody approached Boras with a weight clause?
I'm sure Fielder is a bright guy. Boras is reputed to be.  There's a certain million dollar value to a 275 lb Prince that there isn't to a 310 lb Prince. They should be able to figure that out.
I think I've said before that I would be optimistic about the Ichiro influence on Fielder.
I think he's close to being one of us. 

glmuskie's picture

If speculation that the Cubs are not very involved in Fielder talks is based only on Sveum's comments, then I call shenanigans on that.
For one, Sveum is the manager, not the GM.  While he's in the loop on player & personnel moves, he's not making 'em.
For two, his comment 'We haven't had any talks with Prince.  We haven't had any conversations' is really meaningless.  The negotiation is with Boras, not Prince.
I think Sveum's trying to put up a smokescreen to cool the M's from ratcheting Fielder's price up too high. 


But I don't think it's correct. Sveum would know if his team would be pursuing Fielder and wouldn't make any strong pronouncements unless it was okay with the front office. So then you are saying that he is being completely deceptive, but based on what? Fielder is clearly a terrible fit for the Cubs since they badly need to rebuild which means by the time they are competive again Fielder will be declining and they will be forced to play him in the field no matter how bad his defense gets. So what makes you think that the Cub's really are seriously pursuing Prince?

M-Pops's picture

This has got be.
Z can now sweat Boras out. The only team I am worried about now is the loser of the Yu seepstakes.
Boras is going to have to strike up a bidding war between some of coolest and keenest GM's in MLB. Wouldn't be excited about pushing AA, Daniels, and Z. How long can Boras and Fielder wait before they have to settle for an Abreu-type deal?
If I am Boras, I am sweating it a bit at this point.


MLBTR is reporting that the winning bid for Yu Darvish sets a new record without revealing the winner.  The Blue Jays had been rumored to be the favorite with a bid near 50 million, but less than, the winning bid would have to be 52+ to beat the Matsuzaka record.  It could be the Mariners are not pushing forward on a contract offer to Fielder until after it's resolved whether they've won rights to Darvish.


"Value of Mariners much higher than previously thought," by Geoff Baker, Seattle Times, December 17, 2011 8:04 PM.
Wow. Baker has unearthed some big new if I'm reading things correctly. And you can't help but wonder how it affect the Fielder situation.
Since Larson is about a 30% owner of the Mariners, the team's appraised value is a major dispute between his lawyer and hers. Until now we were unaware that Larson's lawyer did not base his appraisal on the full market of the Mariners, only the market local to the Puget Sound, and even that in the very restricted area of Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue. The resulting appraisal was $551 million. (The only figure we'd previously heard was the $450 million value that Forbes put forth last March based only on publicly available information). But now the appraiser for Larson's wife has come up with a far higher value, basing it on a much, much fuller market scope including the whole state of Washington, other U.S. states, Canada and even Asia. The valuation? A whopping $750 million.
Remember the current M's ownership invested only $212 million to purchase the franchise.
All this of course makes you ask a couple of questions:
First, are the M's lowballing the public with regard to news about their value? I mean, we know they are, but perhaps we were not aware to what degree.
Second, how does the possibly increased value affect the Fielder situation? A higher value gives the M's more equity value, which in turn makes a whole lot more money potentially available (as Doc has pointed out, the team can borrow against that equity) to sign Fielder AND up team payroll.
I'll add another question: How does the divorce-induced battle of the appraisers affect the Fielder situation? Has the timing of this revelation given Boras more leverage to up the dollars and/or years he can demand from a team that is much richer than previously known? Surely it is in Larson's personal interest that the M's value remain low. It will lower his settlement amount. Just as surely, it is in the Mariners negotiating interest that their value for public consumption is lower.
All this is just my initial take. I'm sure there's far more to be said by the savvy and experienced people on this board.
One other comment. Geoff Baker has been stewing on this whole subject while he has been publishing articles ever since the end of the season trying to educate his readers about how team equity should be a factor in the M's payroll decisions, and that the team's insistance on financial balance every year is bogus given that we have watched the team's fortunes and attendance drop precipitously. It wouldn't surprise me if Baker had some information about the situation but he had to wait until he had all his ducks in a row and the divorce appraisals were publicly presented before he could publish it in full. 


To find that the Mariners value as a team is around 750,000,000.  Consider that Frank McCourt wants 1 Billion+ for the Dodgers and is expected to get it, despite the team's being broken into pieces and leveraged to the hilt.  I'm not sure if the buyer would take on the half billion in debt in addition to paying 1 Billion or not, but certainly, the damage that McCourt has done to the Dodgers should be reflected in the selling price.  The Astros were just sold for 680 million (before a discount was included for the league switch).


Alternative scenarios?
I remember Pudge going to the Marlins for one year - after nobody wanted to pony up the dollars AND years for Pudge - (Detroit would pony up the following season).  Is there not a team out there with money for ONE year that needs a 1B for a potential playoff run?  Or, how about a low drawing team who does that math and figures Prince might actually add $20 million in revenue on a one-year? 


the Padres/Reds trade made me briefly think about the possibility of acquiring Anthony Rizzo.  This also occured to others.  But when I think about it, The Reds acquisition of Latos actually pushes the Cubs back a bit for Fielder as the Reds, who were pretty serious contenders before, just got a lot better, and even though the 2 other big teams in the division are losing their bashing 1st Basemen, they will still need to be climbed over as opposed to stepped on.  Even the Pirates look like they're starting to get their act together and the Cubs have as many holes to fill as any team in the game.  It's getting harder every day to see where else Prince could sign.


My personal opinion is that a sports franchise like the Mariners, or a F-50 company like Boeing, adds a lot of quality of life to a region.
The media grouses about tax breaks for Boeing, which blinks quietly and then moves to South Carolina .... whereupon the region comes back hat-in-hand and says "could you start building here again, please?  No taxes and we'll build you a light rail!"
Hey, if the Mariners, or Boeing, or Weyerhaeuser, are assets to the region?  Why not treat them as such?
The Florida, er, Miami Marlins are worth a lot more to the area than it costs the region to keep them.  If they turn around and spend some of the money on players, great.
But then, it goes to a person's broader world view.  Some people are thankful for Corporate America, while others are bitter about it.


And you would be talking an unprecedented slap in the face for the Seattle Mariners.  Pudge didn't pass up a huge offer from a team he didn't fancy.


The reason teams were scared of Pudge was because he only averaged about 100 games over the previous three years. He looked like a catcher breaking down which is scary for a guy heading into his thirties. By taking a one year deal he showed he could still play a full season which dramatically boosted his value.
That isn't the case at all with Fielder. Teams are weary of him not because of his past (he's played every single game but one the last three years and had a great season in 2011) but because of his body and there is nothing he can do about that. If he signs for one year it won't make teams feel any better about paying him until he's 34 but if he gets hurt or plays poorly it would kill his value. He needs to get as long of a deal as possible right now while his value is still high because it's the only way he can count on getting big bucks well into his 30's. He could easily end up like Juan Gonzalez who turned down a huge long term deal only to see his career nose-dive and that risk is completely not worth it. If 150 million bucks are on the table you have to take it instead of trying to get another 20 or 30 million.


The ROI would be crazy, if Prince passed up a sure 8/175 in an attempt to get a coin flip at (a) 1x27 plus 10x260, or (b) some kind of catastrophic injury. 
Can't imagine a businessman like Scott Boras endorsing that, no matter how much the egos got involved.
Don't remember all the details, but it seemed that Pudge was much more forced into the gamble than Prince is.  Prince would simply be blowing off a monster contract in order to get a shot at a preferred city and a little more gravy.
Like we sez, that would be one whale of a shot at the Mariners organization, if it occurred.

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