Prince Fielder - Livin' the Dream


MtGrizzly axed, reasonably, how you'd pitch Safeco to Prince Fielder.

Benihana lined the pitch back through the box at 102 mph:

My pitch would feature such things as:

1) Jack Z - the guy who drafted you, gave you a shot in the league, still has a major man crush on you, etc.  And has the eye for talent that made your current team what it is - and in regards to the M's has them...

2) Loaded w/ potential - Felix, Pineda, Ackley, Smoak, Carp, Seager at the ML - in the minors arms like Hultzen, Paxton, Walker and Campos and bats like Franklin and Catricala, that just needs...

3) A marquee bat (in the literal sense).  A name to go up in lights, the face of the marketing and promotional department.  The franchise savior, the big booper, the Prince to go with the King.  Check out the King's court Mr. Fielder, you stand to inherit it all.

4) And to top it all off, we'll pay a few $$ more than the other guys.

Add it up to all the rest (SafeCo is a great place for LHs to mash and an awesome ballpark to boot, Seattle is a gorgeous city in the summer with great food, culture and friendly press, the fans are loyal and awesome and create the best blogosphere in the game... I mean, take him to a Seahawk or Sounder game to see how crazy we can get, etc... etc.. etc..) - and really, why wouldn't he want to be a part of it? 


That first point is a show-stopper.  It reminds us of an inside track that Pat Gillick exploited just before the 116-win season.

ML superstars have showed us, time and again, that --- > while they relish the Anthony Michael Hall "Johnny Be Good" recruiting tour, they also --- > put huge value on comfort zones.  And even Boras, himself, if money be comparable is "a big believer in players being where they can succeed."

Jack Zduriencik is the Big Boss, and in any walk of life it's a lot of fun to be Best Buds with the guy who owns the joint.  

The Zduriencik factor probably would have the M's automatically on Fielder's short list, if the Mariners clear the cash.


Ben mentions, in passing, that Safeco is a great place for Fielder to stand out.  

This is exactly the nuanced argument that Pat Gillick made to John Olerud:  your swing will play well here, and you'll be one of the few guys who consistently changes the scoreboard.

Gillick was a family friend of Olerud's, quietly impressed Benihana's arguments on Olerud, and in the end they were decisive -- despite a full-court press from the Mets, the Mariners still got Olerud even at a hometown discount.  

Zduriencik/Fielder, if it occurred, would be an echo.


OBF says,


I don't know if this fanbase (or me) can handle yet another aging, used to be on the back BACK end of his career FA to come here to die.  Pay the preimium for ayoung super stud (Fielder or Upton if the dbacks still are willing to trade) or just play the kids!  

Walker, Campos, Trayvon, Wells, and Guti (we pay 2/3rds of the rest of his contract) for Upton?  Or would the dbacks laugh and hang up?

Stars & Scrubs baby.  Go big or go home.

If you're just going to go Jason Kubel, well, the Mariners might as well play the kiddies and spend the $$$$$ on a fearsome bullpen.


G-Money says,

My problem with "roster flexibility" is that it can be a synonym for "never fixing a hole in the team and hoping that a downside hitter can produce."

This is similar to the point that Baker makes nightly on Baker Live!   He calls baloney on all the "keep your powder dry" bumper stickers that really mask an attitude of ---> "Never position yourself to receive a report card for what happens right now."

Nobody is comfortable with $20M x 7 for a real big guy, but this post by G-Money is tough to beat.

He points out that Fielder starts next season at age 27.  If you're not going after that, you have to ask yourself, "Is it Fielder I'm uncomfortable with?  Or is it all bigtime FA's I'm uncomfortable with?"

Everybody's uncomfortable with G-Money's "no-limit, big-blind" table, but you sit down at the pennant-race table or you do not.

Here's a convincing stat, too:


O-WAR through age 27:  Fielder 23.2, Delgado 18.0, Thome 27.2, Jones 27.9

By comparison, Teixeira of the 180 million dollar deal has 15.6 through 27 and 34.4 through 31.  Another bet that I would make is that Fielder gets more offensive WAR (B-R stat) through 31 than Teix has.

All things considered, Fielder being fat and 27 doesn't bother me.  Babe Ruth was, David Ortiz is, and Fielder plays 1B/DH.  I can testify that having an out-of-shape DL physique doesn't affect your hand-eye coordination, though starting at age 35, it certainly leads to a long string of leg pulls ...

Further reading dept:  have you seen this article?  As of midseason, Fielder had cut his swings-and-misses, on strikes, from 9% to 2%!

Like Adrian Gonzalez, as time goes along, Fielder is just getting better at what he does.

Further further reading dept:  see also SSI's Prince Fielder's Age-Arc.


Last winter, Prince was coming off a slightly off-season (135 OPS+) and Ron Shandler wrote:

PRO:  PX still strong despite dip.  K% and EYE stable.

CON:  AVG dip supported by expected batting average.  Serious struggles vs LHP.

VERDICT:  Nothing wrong here that a HR/F recovery (e.g. luck regression - jjc) won't fix.

SSI parlays that --- > into this:  

Considering Fielder's amazing 1.00 batting EYE, his obvious natural power, and his LH swing shape, there are no reservations here about betting the franchise.

Question for SSI is not whether Fielder is worth a huge contract.  Question for me will be only whether he'll come here, and if so, under what conditions.



Dr D


ghost's picture

I am still nervous about signing guys with his physique, but from a roster building perspective it does make some sense.  Smoak and Prince can share 1B/DH until you figure out which way works best, and you've got your DH problem solved either way.  And then you can move your surplus outfielders and some pitching depth for either a young catcher (less likely) or a fixture in LF/CF if you want...or even perhaps a TOR starting pitcher to take the pressure off the youth movement.  Another Lee-like trade would help here.
RF) Ichiro!
3B) Seager
2B) Ackley
DH) Fielder
1B) Smoak
LF) Carp
CF) Wells / Robinson
C) Olivo
SS) Ryan
That line-up is actually shockingly deep.


Of course, if the M's decide not to sit at the big-boys table, they can always be in the audience to watch Texas or Anaheim sign him.
But at least they'll still have the cash for a more "opprotune" time, like 2016 when it's time to extend Smoak.

Zedz's picture

One of the guys I work with is a lifelong Yankee fan from the Bronx. He's lived in Seattle for 15 years and developed a soft spot for Seattle. We were talking about Prince yesterday and he made the excellent point that there is additional value to Prince beyond his numbers; Prince has the ability to (in a single signing) make Seattle a destination city for other free agents. The Zietgiest has spoken and told us that SuperStars no longer want to go at it alone. Team-packing is not a team only phenomenon. The players have to want it too. Michael Jordan frowned on LeBron for sharing the load in Miami, but it didn't take long for them to become a contender.
The teams from the Big East know how this works. Crawford, Texira, Gonzolez,  Sabathia and A-Rod could have all gone to become the "Franchise Face" for any number of teams. Yes they got paid, but they would have been paid by a lot of teams.
Seattle has been fine with this kind of thinking with Ichiro for years. 'Yes we pay him a lot, but think of all the Japanese attention and dollars we get.' Put that thinking into Prince terms: 'Yes we pay him a lot, but look at the extensions our Arb-eligible players are willing to give and the new class of free-agents who are willing to listen, if not sign with us.'
We have Felix to thank for starting the trend. Seattle needs to jump in and get serious about Prince if we want to see Hultzen, Ackley and Franklin stick around. God forbid little Timmy Lincecum signs with a BigEast team because his hometown Mariners aren't serious enough for him.
With LA in the dumper and LAAoA being an Anti-Boras corporation, Seattle could realistically be the West Coast City to be in for the next 5 years. We don't have to sign everyone who wants to come here, we just want our choice of everyone who wants to come here.

ghost's picture

...thoguh I doubt the Angels get in on Fielder...they have Morales and Jumbo Trumbo. It would be more likely to be a battle between the Blue Jays, Yankees, Tigers and Rangers (and a few NL clubs as well).
Still...your point is good...not signing Fielder means someone else did...not getting into the bidding means you didn't drive up the price.


Maybe we can get Prince to convert to catcher? LOL
Wells and Trayvon are really concerning me... I won't be surprised to see Guti back. Besides who would trade for him?

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