Prince Fielder - Seattle vs Florida vs Field


Know this, going in, that Jack Zduriencik has a big dose of Justin Smoak in him.  He genuinely does not want to hear applause as he steps into the box; he wants applause as he's rounding third base in a trot.  When he steps into the box, he wants to see a lot of texting in the stands.

Zduriencik also has a large "I'll believe it when I see it" streak.  He is sincere when he intones, shoulders slumped, that he half-expects another team to be "lying low, playing possum," and to jump in at the last second with a Boras-pleasing deal.
And if that occurred -- if the M's offered Fielder 8/$180 as Dr. D thinks they would -- if the M's had a deal half-done and the Marlins jumped in at 8/$195, then Boras would cackle with glee and take pleasure in leaving the M's at the altar.
Zduriencik, our SSI hero, would have squat to complain about, considering the way he (reportedly) did the Yankees.  And so we hear Zduriencik issuing cautions, that the Mariners aren't frontrunners until there were a press conference.  He believes that.  So does SSI.
I/O:  Mariners are in big on Prince Fielder.

CRUNCH:  Dr. D likes to think that he specializes in reading between Fortune-500 lines, and he was quite taken aback by this Monday article.
Johns quoted Capt Jack thusly:
"Sometimes things fall apart and it's not always because of you. It's because the other side didn't buy into it. Those are the unknowns. From our standpoint, to go out and blow your trumpet doesn't do any good."
In Zduriencik-speak, that's tantamount to a flying belly-flop off the tower into a kiddie pool.
He means that --- > some other GM, given his same circumstances in Seattle, would blow his trumpet.  He'd say, "We've got the money approved from on high, and it is an offer that can get the job done.  We're going after Fielder and we like our chances!"
So the Mariners are finally, at long last, acting like a middle-big market team, one with a $0.5 billion stadium.  They're just not talking like it.  Dr. D approves of both of these developments.
Other quotes in the Johns article reinforced the same thing.  The M's met with Fielder last night, and you would pretty well doubt that they submitted an offer sheet.  But it's like Boras goes, "Prince is looking for some long-term security.  Pujols got ten years; Cabrera got 8."  And the M's suits nod and go, "With Prince, we could probably talk about the longer contract terms rather than the shorter ones.  We think he'd be really happy here."
And the finger-trigger games begin, because in expensive negotiations, whoever says the first number loses.
SSI didn't say anything at the time, but then here comes a followup public statement that should signal the beginning of a mini-era ....



Today, the Marlins inked Buerhle, to go along with Reyes and Bell.  For those counting, that is 17.5m/yr for Reyes, 9 m/yr for Bell and 14.5 m/yr for Buerhle.  This brings the Marlins total to $42 m per year so far.
Last year, the Marlins payroll was at $56 m.  I am not sure who dropped off the Marlins' payroll this last year, and I am too lazy to look something like this up, so I will just assume that there is still roughly $56 m in committments for the next year.
Assuming that an average mid market team, which the Marlins probably are, has a payroll around $100 m, it is probable that the Marlins are out of the $20-25 m free agent signings.
So, what about Los Marineros de Seattle?  Who has it signed? that's right, no one.


Morosi tweets that "a source with knowledge of Mariners' plans believes they will make a strong effort to sign Fielder."
This is not new, nor is it news, but it does tend to confirm your take that, far from being a token "we tried" attempt, the M's are going to exert themselves to make their attempt to lure "His Princeliness" to Seattle successful.
Whether they succeed or not, it helps us see them in a better light than has been the case the last few years. It also confirms that it is Jack's judgment that adding a Fielder at big bucks is not counterproductive to his youth movement.


And their GM has said their interest has been "overblown". Assuming the Marlins are out of it then the M's are in as good a position as you could hope. There is no one else who will drive up Fielder's price significantly.. The only potential issue is that Fielder is young enough that taking a shorter contract could be tempting because he might be able to get another big deal when he hits free agency again. That would leave Chicago and maybe Toronto still in play.
Things should be much clearer tomorrow, especially if Wilson signs.


Rangers swooped in at the last minute.
If in fact Miami is out of the picture now, and that seems reasonable to me, those two clubs, Chicago and Texas, are the ones to be concerned about.
Theo Epstein will want to make a splash, and Fielder is definitely that, despite word out of Chicago that they are not that interested.
Also, Texas, with no big move made yet this offseason and having lost one of their best pitchers, has money, a cozy park, a TON of lineup protection, a committed ownership, and a postseason run going that shows no signs of slacking off. Sure, they've got Moreland, but hey, they couldn't shrug off the upgrade.


If they aren't willing to spend the money to re-sign their great pitcher they aren't going to break the bank for Fielder. As for Epstein, there is no need to make a splash because getting fans interested in the Cubs isn't a problem. What he needs to do is to overhaul the team and I've seen no indication that adding Fielder is considered an important part of that.

ghost's picture

I'm not about to be giddy about Fielder...I agree with Z that we need to be careful not to assume things about the market.  We're in a good spot here...but the Jays, Angels and maybe Cubs are still in there...that we know of.  Other surprises aren't out of the question.
But it would seem that Fielder is our best chance in a very long time to land that marquee FA...please, dear Z, make it so!

CA's picture

Starting to formulate a completely farcical plan here.
A) Sign Fielder -Escalating deal through six years starting at 20 mil.
B) Trade Figgins for Soriano, get back 10 mil. paid over 2 seasons.
C) See what Anibal Sanchez and Chris Coghlun cost/ pay it.   
D) Extend Ichiro, 2 years, 20 mil.  He keeps his current deal but defers 5 mil.  Or, 3/35 pay as we go.  
I can dream, can't I?  About what 15-20 million higher budget? 


So I would expect them to be somewhat of a player.
But he's always been our first choice.  Someone like Fielder isn't gonna wanna be anyone's fall back plan, nor should he be.  
Come where you're wanted and you'll be loved, Prince.  I promise, Seattle's a wonderful place to live - especially for a guy who may not want the largest market to live in.


Reyes is backloaded 10/10/16/22/22/22.  Forbodingly, Boros mentioned tonight to Baker that a 3 or 4 year contract would also be possible, but that no one had brought it up.  Boros did this before with Adrian Beltre, allowing him to reenter free agency at 30, he also had opt-out clauses built into CC Sabathia's and JD Drew's contracts, so it could be that Fielder gets a contract from the Marlins for 25/25/25/opt-out or 19/19/19 for the last 3 years...


Would he sign for just five and then reload?  Don't know.  But if Boros is hinting that a shorter contract is doable, then there is much to love in that type of deal.


M's don't leak stuff like that, and Zduriencik has already confirmed that they're in, so you'd be talking about one of two things...
(1) a field scout, or somesuch, giving his personal opinion as to what the M's should do (or Duquette misrepresenting a random e-mail), or
(2) Fielder already has offers so far over the Ms' that they've withdrawn their own?
Amazing what you see on Twitter, and from whom.  A good amount of the tweets are contradictory, even from big names.


If true, the Angels are rolling for the next 5 years with one of the 10 best hitters of ALL TIME in the heart of their order (and then 5 more years of him falling to a merely good hitter).  The Rangers have an extended MOTO with Beltre, Kinsler, Hamilton, Napoli and Cruz.
Are we countering that with Mike Carp at #4?  We have basically zero power hitters in the minors for the next 3 seasons.  I don't consider Catricala or Franklin to be power hitters - for infield glove positions, okay, but not overall.  They're not slugging it out with Hamilton or Pujols.  Neither would F-Mart or Proscia or Miller if they worked out.  Liddi has power but he has to actually connect with the ball to use it, and I don't have faith in that.  In the last draft we took glove positions, and whiffed on the one guy with truly serious power (Cron).  There's no Fielder sitting in our system biding his time.
We can plan to counter with pitching...but we still have to score, and we're coming off two of the worst offensive performances in the DH era.
Time to see the plan to compete in the AL West, which is looking more and more like the AL West of a decade ago, where 100+ wins might get you a wildcard entry to the dance.
The extra wildcard will help, but we've still got to show up.  I hope Jack has a really good plan.


Lucas Luetge, 6-foot-4 LHP, 13th-round pick for Z's Brewer crew in 2008, out of Rice.  Has been stuck in AA, but looks like he could get some outs.


Now that the Halos have brought in 1 of 2 prizes, it must be time to restart the rebuild process.  Any chance of competing at all in the next couple of seasons is just going to have to wait.  The budget is fixed.  Let's go back to focusing on pretty defense.
What could the M's get for Felix?
(TIC alert, just in case....)


But maybe this is the extra push that's needed to get Jack to go all-in on Fielder. We already needed to cover significant ground to catch up to the Rangers. If the Angels get Pujols, the M's need a big move to stay afloat. Might also be time to give the Marlins a call to see what kind of damage they're expecting for Ramirez.


The second of the two prizes, reported minutes later.
We're about to find out if the M's will make more excuses and stay irrelevant, or whether they're interested in real competition.
For me, it's not whether they actually sign Fielder, but they sure better be ready to give a market offer.  They can't force him to choose, but they CAN do better than the 2nd rate offers they gave to Vlad back in the day.
Should also mention that this probably increases the chance of Texas getting in on Fielder, as the Angels just threw a Mike Tyson uppercut to their chin.


Yesterday early the buzz was that they might sign both Fielder and Wilson. Arte Moreno must have read the news, turned to his Scioscia-clan and said, "That's gonna be US instead!"


still feels that ownership is prepared to give him what he needs to compete in the AL West?
Do the M's tuck their tail between their legs and slink away when confronted with the division bully? Can anyone ever imagine M's ownership doing such a thing? They wring their hands and squirm on their chair at whether to provide the resources to give a "reasonable" offer to Fielder while their competition is preparing a "we're gonna blow the field away" gambit.


3B - .195/.252/.275 in 647 plate appearancesCF - .201/.257/.275 in 624 plate appearances
Don't think there's a chance the M's get comparable players to Pujols/Wilson, but we clearly win the 'most room for improvement' award. Adam Jones and a breakthrough from Liddi/Seager would probably be worth 6+ WAR in itself. Something to grasp onto in these times of duress. :)


Both 87-89 mph lefties (Vargas can get a little more now, but didn't in the minors).
Vargas (minors): 9 hits (1 HR), 3 BB, 8 K per 9.
Luetge: 9 hits (0.5 HR), 3BB. 8 K per 9.
I'd take another Vargas on the cheap.  Let him throw long relief and see if he too can become a 2 WAR pitcher.  I thought we might take Brett Lorin back, but Luetge is an interesting shot at making something out of nothing (Jack's specialty).  We'll see what he shows in ST.

The Angels trump by a mile anything the M's are contemplating.
edited to add:
In addition to adding a historically great MOTO bat and creating a rotation trio of Weaver, Haren and Wilson, bumping Santana to their #4 starter, they have added a big trade chip with either Kendry Morales or Mike Trumbo becoming superflous (one could DH).
From what I can tell Abreu has a $1 million buyout on his 2012 contract. So indeed that would leave DH open for one of the two just mentioned. Or, the Halos could figure Abreu is a walk machine and put him third in front of a cleanup-batting Pujols.


Not next week.  Today.
I dunno how Jack plans to compete but I know how I do, and as I've said all along that's by signing the best and youngest bat on the market so that we don't have to trade the farm (or worse, play the farm) to patch together an acceptable O.
It lets us keep playing a bunch of talented kids around him and prepping the staff for dominance. Ackley + Fielder + Smoak + Carp is a decent wheel to turn this offense around, especially once Franklin gets here to hit #2.
Make it happen, Jack.  Before I was grudgingly expecting Kubel + Francis + a pen arm as our offseason expenditures, now I'll be pissed if that's what really happens.  We have 5 years left of Smoak, 6 of Ackley and Carp, probably 7 of Franklin...
We HAVE our good pre-Arb bats.  Go get me a monster to fill out the lineup.
You know you want to...


This is one of the reasons I wish our top prospects were more oriented towards hitting than pitching. As nice as Walker/Hultzen/Paxton promise to be, the M's need to get some offense somewhere. Big bats universally care about their stats, that is their legacy. The Safeco stigma automatically puts the M's at a disadvantage with the Fielder-types before negotiations even begin, and it doesn't help that just about every top dollar bat to sign here was eventually eaten alive by the ballpark.
If the M's needed to sign starting pitching instead, they'd have a huge advantage over other teams. They'd be able to attract and sign elite talent without paying a premium, and in all likelihood their signings would exceed expectations instead of disappoint.
But they don't need SP. They might have more depth there than any other AL team. They need elite hitting, and face major challenges acquiring it.
You rarely see prospect-for-prospect trades, so I believe Walker/Hultzen/Paxton are all Mariners for the long run. If the M's can't sign a big bat, it might really be time to consider trading Felix and/or Pineda for the biggest prospect haul they can get.


Are here.
Small potatoes compared to the Angels activity, but you take what you can get.
You have to like the "vs. Left" line, which I assume caught the Z-crew's eye as well.


Or at least was in charge of scouting him.  That was Jack's last draft with Milwaukee.
I don't think he had to worry about a stat catching his eye - he and his crew knew the kid. :)
Which is why it might work when most Rule 5s dont.  I agree with you though, as a soft-tosser he's been great against most lefties, and if you'll notice he had one start last year, just one - and that start bumped his ERA up half of a run.
He struck out 9 per and was unhittable by lefties.  We can find a use for that if the skills translate.  Fingers crossed - we need more lefty relief.


Angels got serious.  Texas will still be good.....but will be seeking arms eventually.
Fielder becomes huge, in terms of what it says about Seattle's willingness to keep up with the Jones'.
But the Pujols deal has increased Prince's demands by 10%, or more.
We haven't discussed other trades much recently, other than Smith.  But I wonder if Ethier, etc. are back on the table as potential deals?
Will be an interesting day.

ghost's picture

Even if we sign are we a match for LA and Texas?
We have a rotation of King Felix, Michael Pineda, Jason Vargas and young fodder
The Angels have a four-ace rotation.
The Rangers are Neftali Felix to their rotation along with their other Pineda competitor.
We have a line-up that goes:
Ichiro! (RF)
Seager (3B)
Ackley (2B)
Fielder (DH)
Carp (LF)
Smoak (1B)
Wells/Guti (CF)
Jaso/Olivo (C)
Ryan (SS)
They have line-ups like:
Izturis (3B)
Aybar (SS)
Pujols (1B)
Morales/Trumbo (DH)
Hunter (LF)
Wells (RF)
Kendrick (2B)
Ianetta/Conger (C)
Bourjos/Trout (CF)
Borbon (CF)
Kinsler (2B)
Hamilton (LF)
Beltre (3B)
Cruz (RF)
Napoli (C)
Young (DH)
Moreland (1B)
ANdrus (SS) does Prince Fielder make us remotely competitive at any point in the next three years?  I don't see it.


want to win or if they are just happy to play the game.  Franchise gut (wallet) check time.  Seattle as a city has the tax-payer paid stadium, Fortune 500's, the wealthy non-corporate population to fill Safeco every night and turn a profit.  Does the ownership want to risk spending the money to get people there or are they happy with a 1/2 filled stadium, making a little bit of money, and watching the franchise value go up so they can profit when it is time sell?
The billion+ dollar consumer electronics corporation I work for is the market leader in our category.  We didn't get this way by waiting around for our products to develop.  We had to go spend money to develop the best technology, buy brand recognition (including professional sports sponsorship), and pay the salaries the top people in the industry require.  
Nintendo's been doing it for a while and have both hit and missed on new technology.  That's the way business works, but you can't win if you're not willing to take the risk.  I've been a Mariners fan for over 25 years, so I'm about 15% confident the leaders of the Mariners are willing to do what it takes to both win and make a profit.  I'm 100% confident they will make decisions to make a profit.


It broke down as:
- don't get all crazy and blow a wad of cash on Fielder in an attempt to keep up
- he won't help you get to the playoffs anyway the next few years, since there are two teams now that are SO much better than the Ms
- Keep building for the 2013 season, punt 2012
In 2013 if we did that I would then expect to see a "play for 2014, trade Felix" piece since with a year and a half to go on his deal Felix would be worth more.
This would be how teams get to be the Orioles, I guess (spend 85 million a year, never come close to competing). 
Throwing in the towel and pretending like we're a small market team just gets my dander up.  We can sustain a $120+ million dollar payroll if we sell tickets.  Which we can't do if we suck.
Wasting 2 or 3 more years hoping to internally locate a bat like Prince Fielder or overpay some vets to come here to fill out the kids roster annoys me.  Just waiting for the system to "finish the job" is even more annoying.  How long have Pittsburgh and KC been waiting for that?  How is Minny doing with that?  Not too long ago the Astros had a highly rated farm system.  Oops.
You pay to play.  Texas has one of the best farms around, and they're throwing money at their team to improve its chances.  Pony up, Mariners.  Your rivals are, and it IS a game of Keeping Up With The Joneses.  You really think you can out-do the Angels and the Rangers on the farm promotions by a large enough margin to overcome playing $60 million in the hole?
That's what the term "High Stakes" means.  If you want to play the penny slots, then sell the team to someone with the will to compete and not just to make money off the half a BILLION dollars the citizens of the state of Washington ponied up to build your pretty park...not to mention what they pay in ticket prices to watch you finish 20+ games out.
We've got the farm.  The farm IS producing.  So support it with the right players, even if they're expensive.
If Fielder isn't the right player, then somebody better be figuring out how to get Hanley Ramirez or whomever in here instead.


is predictably repeating the in vogue mantra-de-WAR and advocating we now punt 2012 and shoot for 2013 instead. Keep our head down, nose to the grindstone with The Plan, and keep chipping at the granite cliff with our Nerf hammer.
Oh, and the premis seems to be that this gorilla move does not seriously degrade our chimpanzee chances in 2013.
Oh, and no need for the M's to response with a more serious financial investment. Apparently the M's fans will flock to Safeco in droves to support a team that will serve as the Washington Nationals to the LAAAA Angels of AAAAnaheim. Because after all, what they come to see is this neat, tidy little plan in which the M's keep payroll modest just to show they are more clever than their competition.
I hear a rumor that the Good Ship thinks it will be enough for the fans for a single-paragraph bullet-pointed outline of the key facets of The Plan to adorn the big screen at the Safe after every loss. Accompanied by a portrait of a guy with the same name as the deceased owner of Wendy's.


I just think it’s funny when the premise becomes self-fulfilling.
Don’t spend money on over-priced FAs, build from within
Building from within is taking a while and funds are dropping because we suck and payroll is tied to attendance
Save money, build from within
Prospects fail or aren’t a big enough boost, still can’t compete, hemorrhaging money
better fire the GM, trade expensive players and build from within
Tautologies are fun. 
The idea that we can out-prospect the Angels and Rangers is laughable.  I’m glad we can now KEEP UP with them, but we’re not gonna be harvesting more Grade A talent than them in the near future.
We’re hoping to add Hultzen and Franklin by early next year, maybe more.
Well that’s nice, but the Angels are adding Mike freakin’ Trout and can now trade Trumbo for even MORE pitching if they’d like to.
The Rangers have Profar who just obliterated A-ball and is on a Franklin-esque path to the bigs in a couple of years, and Martin Perez will probably be ready for their rotation next year as their version of Taijuan Walker.
We can keep up with them in the prospecting field, but we’re not blowing them away.   Once we stop drafting top-3 it’ll probably wind up about even.
So we’d better figure out how to compete with payroll and major-league talent eye, because hoping to be the D-Rays is tough.  It took them a decade of losing, and I don’t think Zduriencik is gonna be around for 8 more years of getting whitewashed by our division foes and just stocking up on talent in the hopes that  someday, over the rainbow, we can compete. 


especially the part about the self-fulfilling plan that results in perpetual rebuild when confronted with competition that can match you in your arena of choice while they beat the socks off you in the arena you have abdicated as part of your Grand Plan.


of a beaver preparing to build his dam-dwelling. Spends days observing, planning, calculating, gathering materials. He figures out just the right spot, and industriously and wisely begins his work with great care. He gets about a quarter of his dam completed, and he's seriously contemplating whether he's ready to add a key spar that will anchor the middle of his dam. WHAM! TAT!-TAT!-TAT!-TAT!-TAT! KA-BOOM! Knocked flat and dazed, he staggers to the crest of his shattered construction and looks just upstream where the clamor came from, noticing first that the flow of water has slowed and then the giant construction equipment where the Army Corps of Engineers has decided to build a REAL dam.

wufners's picture

Can't you just see the Mariner fans' signs that are brought into the stadium next year when the Angels come to visit?
"Our dollar per WAR ratio is higher than yours"
"We're reasonable"
"We love the payroll and roster flexibility we have for next season"
Man, the Angels are going to feel embarassed and silly as they run around the bases.  In your face Anaheim!


Agree that if the M's found themselves at an impasse, they should investigate the Felix / Pineda deals.  Incredible as it sounds, they're in a position to replace Felix, in a fashion.
Your post spells out why it is not an "emotional reaction" to capitalize on the Fielder opportunity.  It is a logical reaction.


UZR is showing him like -7 runs.  Is that due to other factors camoflaging his range, or due to his being a bit slow there?
In Safeco, even mediocre CF's run nice range factors and UZR's, though.  I'd be very interested in Adam Jones.


And tell me how many games those types of teams have won ...
G-Money just listed a fearsome lineup if the M's were to acquire an Adam Jones type for CF, sign Fielder, etc.  *IF* the Mariners went after it aggressively, they've got the precursors to a top-5 offense.
You deploy a better-than-average offense, with the best pitching in the league, and nobody is going to want to play you.  
Whether LAA and TEX look good on paper, what do we care.  There are always the best teams in the league to go against.  :- )


Ichiro is a one-year hole in production, assuming no bounceback (and no extension/re-signing). Then we'll have 18 million more dollars to pursue improvements with, assuming Catricala can't Ibanez his way to production in this lineup.
Ryan is a bit of a hole but with a good glove he still helps the team - and Franklin is on the way to add a plus bat (and hopefully-adequate glove) to fix the problem.
Jaso was already added under the assumption that he's more his 2010 season than his 2011 one (something I believe).
Which leaves 3B and CF as our only 2011 positions under 105 OPS+ by the end of the year (and that 105 was Smoak, who will almost assuredly improve that the coming season). If you think Seager can be a player who can hit like Izturis (that same 105 OPS+ from 2011 OR like his 90 OPS+ previously) then what are you worried about?
Guti either needs to become old Guti again or he needs to be replaced. Maybe Wells can do that, maybe not, but either way a solution to that problem needs to present itself. RIP Halman, we do miss you, on the field and off.
But if Smoak, Carp, and Ackley are who I think they are then we're not that far off with Fielder in the fold. Both the Angels and the Rangers have 2 sub-90ish OPS+ positions, with the Rangers also struggling with Moreland and needing an 85 OPS+ catcher to help out Napoli as well.
We're in the conversation still. And assuming our rotation by the end of 2012 is Felix/Pineda/Hultzen/Paxton, I would be afraid of the potential of that bunch of arms especially with some of the younger top-shelf arms climbing closer to the bigs.
We're not gonna be fielding a team that will dominate Texas and the Angels...but we can certainly field one to challenge for the playoffs every year. It may not feel like it since we've been pathetic for so long it feels natural...
But we really can. Jack just needs to DO it. Finish turning over the black holes to get decent production. 1B, 2B, DH and LF should be good, and catcher might be decently solved. 3B and SS should be shortly as well.
RF and CF are our problem children, as we have players there who either will be gone shortly or should be if they can't produce. But having problems or question marks doesn't eliminate you from contention.
No way am I folding my tent and going home at this point, and the Ms better not either.


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