And then there were none Dept., 2


I/O:  A suggestion that the M's give Fielder a 3-year opt-out, with all the money paid after the opt-out.

CRUNCH:  Well, sure.  If the agent and player would accept this, that's what you'd do.  I imagine this proposal was made 5 minutes after the first opt-out discussion ever took place in baseball.  

Scott Boras is not doing this for the first time.  "We'd like a player option to void the contract in year four."  ... "Sure, Scott, we can do that.  Now how about $1 a year for three years and then $100M in year four.  And you decide whether to stay here."  


You remember Dennis Quaid, Undercover Blues, when Morty adopts a fancy pose with his knife.  "You know, that looks good on TV, but in real life you get better results if you .... "AAAHHHHHHH!" (charges, gets flipped over the dock into the water)

In real life, when you're at a high-pressure conference table and you present a mugging scenario with a straight face .... the other side's negotiating team then politely but pointedly turns its heads away from the guy who just said that, and converses with the other members of the team for the rest of the day.  The assistant GM doesn't try that at the next session.

There's a second way to reply:  angry silence, then break into smiles, check the watches, "Hey, why don't we break for lunch."  And then they don't come back from lunch ...

Just saying.  That's the reality.  Assuming zero IQ doesn't work out well, when negotiating with a lawyer, much less with a guy like Scott Boras.  The outcome is painful.


As far as "saving face" for Boras, that doesn't play into real negotiations as much as we fans think it does.  

At the closing table, there are lots of zeroes on lots of pieces of paper, and even the most jaded closer gets a high blood pressure reading.  It's 100.00% about money when you're talking this kind of dough.

The mass media refuses to take the M's seriously.  But if Jack Zduriencik is offering two more years guaranteed, than the whole rest of the field, then you can pencil Prince Fielder into the #4 slot in Japan.


I/O:  Baseball Prospectus Comps

CRUNCH:  BP's player card for Fielder comes up with the following PECOTA player comps:

1 Ken Griffey Jr 1997 304 / 382 / 646 with 56 HR
2 Todd Helton 2001 336 / 432 / 685 with 49 HR, 54 2B
3 Mark Teixeira 2007 Free agency year
4 Adam Dunn 2007 264 / 386 / 554 with 40 HR
5 John Mayberry 1975 291 / 416 / 547 with 34 HR, 119 RBI
6 Jeff Bagwell 1995 290 / 399 / 496
7 Jim Thome 1998 293 / 413 / 584
8 Kal Daniels 1991 250 / 335 / 400
9 Frank Thomas 1995 308 / 454 / 606 with 40 HR, 136 BB's
10 Barry Bonds 1992 311 / 456 / 624 with 

Hey, I'm not responsible for the blood alcohol levels of computers.  But raise your hand if you suspect that the Seattle blog-o-sphere would have found all those players to be unsophisticated, even Neanderthalic, approaches to improving a baseball team....

Prince Fielder is a 150-OPS+ cleanup hitter who leads the league in walks - he is Edgar Martinez if Edgar had been a 40-homer man.

We hear the suggestion that Prince is overrated.  Yeah, he's overrated if the only player that interests you is one with "clever" defensive / speed value, like Chone Figgins.  Prince Fielder is overrated if every Jim Thome and Jeff Bagwell and Barry Bonds and Frank Thomas in the game is overrated.

But if you want a franchise cleanup hitter who changes the scoreboard, no.  Prince Fielder is not overrated.  He's a state-of-the-art #4 bat with 100 walks, 440-foot shots and all the trimmings.  

If great hitters aren't your thing, because not clever enough, steer clear.  Me?  I'll take four of 'em.

Your friend,




Great stuff as always.
I thought Boras was getting a little desperate when he came out with the statement about negoitiating with owners.  That showed he had already struckout with the GM's.  Keep it coming Doc.


Well done again.  I appreciate the business view of the negotiations rather than solely focusing on the WAR/$ paradigm.
The only team I haven't seen mentioned by the media as a mystery team is the LA Dodgers.  I know all about the ownership situation.  But, Torre leaving MLB HQ to join one of the potential ownership groups, the TV rights being up for bid again, and they had plenty of money to re-sign Matt Kemp at 8/160.
It just makes sense for the Dodgers to sign him.  They have a mediocre firstbaseman in Loney.  They need to compete with the Angels for the spotlight that the city of Los Angeles thrives on.  Even though money is tight now, the new owners won't have any problems meeting payroll.  And, if I remember correctly, the sale of the team has to happen by the end of April.  
I also think a Torre-led ownership would view Prince as an asset on the books.  Baker's reasoning of not having anyone on the payroll makes it easier to sell makes sense in the case of the Mariners, but a baseball veteran like Torre may have a different perspective.  I also bet Torre has some inside information about the sale and he's already in baseball's cultural inner circle.
From Fielder's persepective, he gets the big market, big contract, and gets plenty of publicity. He gets to continue to complete with Pujols in a celebrity and baseball way, but not directly like the NL Central.  Prince doesn't have to change leagues and learn new pitchers.
I may be just completely off base here, but I fear the Dodgers may be the mystery team.

PositivePauly's picture

Here's BB-Ref's computers' comps:
Travis Hafner (938)
Adrian Gonzalez (932)
Justin Morneau (924)
Ryan Howard (911)
Dick Stuart (897)
Bob Horner (892)
Kevin Mitchell (890)
Glenn Davis (887)
Adam LaRoche (882)
Carlos Pena (869)
I consider anything OVER 900 pretty legit. Mitchell, Horner & Stuart are borderline enough that I'd accept them as well. Other than Gonzalez, I'd say BB-Ref's comps are not quite in the same tier as BP's. Looking at that list, you can start to see where the "Overrated!" chants come from.
Personally, I see Fielder more in the Thome/Vaughn/Big Papi mold -- but all of those guys are taller than Prince. But, well, I'm not a computer...

ghost's picture

BBRef comp lists generally make no sense to me.  They compare players based on counting stats accrued in a given amount of playing time (and age)...they tell you little about context, skill type or player family.  BP's list at least include those phenotypes and some other info that helps narrows things a bit (plus the counting stats are better-adjusted for context).
That pattern I'm noticing with both the BBRef and BP lists...most of the players on those lists evaporated or at least transitioned down to much lower production levels when they hit 30-34.  Or became increasingly injury prone...either/or.
Hafner, Morneau, Mitchell, Stuart, LaRoche, Pena...all fizzled rather suddenly to new established levels of performance much lower than their prime years early in their thirties.  The BP list has similar stories like Frank Thomas (who suddenly and unexpectedly forgot how to hit for average), Mo Vaughn (whose body gave out), etc.  So...yeah...that's a risk at the end of Fielder's contract if it's a long one.


As far as I can tell, not a single SSI poster ever sweated the Cubs, Cards, Marlins, and other media darlings too much.  But we all fear the late entry of a team that the media completely overlooked.
Larry Stone had a good point:  once things do heat up, they can proliferate, and you get a lot of unexpected things happening real quick.
I could see the Dodgers.  Hope not.

benihana's picture

I don't fear the Dodgers.  Their ownership situation does not appear to be moving fast enough towards resolution to make that sort of commitment an option.
The team I fear is the Rangers.  Especially if they don't get an agreement in place with Dharvish. 
The thought of them way overbidding for Yu, failing to reach an agreement with him and thereby keeping him away from their rivals and out of the league for a year, then turning around and dropping that pile o' cash on a severly depressed market for Fielder - and locking him in at a relative bargain.  I think I'd cry a little. 
I don't really envision any Prince movement until Dharvish and maybe also Cespedes are done. Then we'll see who's standing.
- Ben.


Yeah, that makes me wonder whether Fielder is in dry dock until Jan. 17 or whenever the Yu deadline is.
I don't even want to think about the numbers that Prince Fielder would put up in Texas.  58 homers, 145 RBI maybe?  Bill James likes Texas as much as Taro does, saying that they have "six Grade A offensive weapons" already.  You're going to add 50+ homers at first base?
You would really be talking about the brink of getting Baltimore'd.


Granted, the Rangers could theoretically play both Napoli and Fielder, but committing to an expensive DH doesn't match up real well with a Fielder commitment.  So there's that.


The team most interested in Fielder -- and most willing to pay big -- is the Mariners. The question is whether or not he wants to play in Seattle.

If true, then Boras is just trying to "make a market" (and failing) while Jack is refusing to negotiate against himself (and succeeding).  Whining that "Prince isn't sure about Seattle" is apparently the only leverage Boras has left.  So far, Jack is unmoved.  Good job, Jack. 


But MLBtraderumors has not really given much credence to the Mariners acquiring Fielder, and seems to salivate over the idea of the Nationals, calling them the obvious front runner without any real evidence.  Jeff at Lookout Landing pointed out that the quote on Traderumors was a little warped.


So I don't think it's bias.
They believe he'll be coming here but right now Boras is throwing out every other possibility hoping to drum up SOME kind of a bidding war to raise Fielder's price, so all is quiet on the Mariners' front.
We've made our offer and our intentions known and are waiting out Boras.
We'll see if we can wait long enough.  Wasn't Boras Carlos Delgado's agent when he waited so long in the Richie Sexson FA year that he had to sign a one-year deal and try again the next season?
Might happen again.  Depends on how badly Fielder doesn't want to play here, for geographical or results-based reasons.

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