And then there were none Dept., 1


I/O:  Nationals, on Thursday Jan. 5, declare themselves OUT of the Prince Fielder "sweepstakes."  

CRUNCH:  MLB Trade Rumors (quoting Jon Heyman), in its next sentence, overrules them:  they're "deep in the mix."

As well, the Cubs and Jays have drawn the line at 5 years.  This coming from breathless rumor-monger Heyman, of all people.


Did you guys see Rizzo on TV a couple of weeks ago, when asked about Fielder?  I mean, did you see him?  His body language, tone of voice, etc., was exactly as if you'd asked Chuck Armstrong "So, you guys thinking about selling to Paul Allen?"

Now here's Rizzo again today, not only saying that first base is "settled," but also pointedly complaining that Scott Boras does this to the Washington Nationals every year.  Uses them as a phantom team for clients who can't get signed.

And, Rizzo tells the world, THAT'S WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW!  Scott Boras is lying about our interest so as to drive the price up.  Just so you know!

MLBTR nods gravely, "Okay.  So you're deep in the mix.  Good, good."


I/O:  Zduriencik issues statement:  "Some players are going to have to make some decisions."

CRUNCH:  That's GM-speak for, "The offer isn't extended indefinitely."

Larry Stone had an excellent article time-tracing the historical Boras signings into the Jan 5-15 window.  Which is exactly where ML execs have been predicting the Fielder jam to break.

This one could go a little later, precisely because the Mariners don't have other options that compete with their Fielder offer.  It's not like they've got Jason Bay asking to come here this time.

But don't overlook Zduriencik's growl.  That's his way of saying, don't push me too far, kid.


As time goes on, there is a trend line here.

If you graphed MLB's interest in [Prince Fielder 7 x $22], it would be on a glide path steeply down.  January 5, 2012 is a painful low point for Scott Boras', um, PF Flyer, the lowest point of the offseason.  

Each week brings a fresh low point.  Each week, Boras looks more and more like an outdated Shootist, out of ammo and out of ideas, more and more transparently desperate.

I thought the DiceK and Johnny Damon contracts were embarrassing, but have never seen Boras at this level of pathos.  He needs to cut his losses and move on.


ghost's picture

Yeah...the Mariners have likely offered something like 7 years, 160 million or somesuck. And Boras thought he'd do 50+ mil better than that...and now he's so far up mud creek thanks to his own posturing that he has no choice but to blink. Sooner or later...he has GOT to give up on the longer term stuff and cut a deal with someone. If Fielder has said "absolutely no way I'm playing for Seattle"...then he goes to Toronto for five and 120 or something like that...if Fielder didn't completely rule out Seattle but was just hoping an east coast team would make a comparable offer...he will sign with the Mariners. That's how I read it.


Would be my wild guess as of Jan. 5 ...
If he has to settle for 6 years, he might as well go to the city he prefers for 5 plus a vesting year ...
Strong suspicion that, right now, Boras is still whaling away at air, stuck on 10 years ...


By all indications, the M's have been the only team with 6+ years at big money on the table for at least eight weeks now. If it was the Yankees or Red Sox instead of the Mariners, Fielder would have signed in early December. This is not about pinching another year out of the Mariners, it's getting a more desirable team to make a similar offer.
Have seen this happen over and over again with the Orioles. Fielder and/or Boras view the Mariners as a worst case scenario, they do not want the Mariners to be the winning team. For the Orioles, it's playing for a scrub team in a division with four top teams and a crazy owner. For the Mariners, it's hitting in Safeco Field with weak lineup protection (and perhaps now playing against the Angels' limitless spending).
Boras is playing a game of brinksmanship with other teams, and he's got the M's in his back pocket for if he loses. The M's are basically being used right now, they're just more leverage for Boras's power play. However, the longer this drags on, the more likely it is that Boras does lose. I'd say each week that passes by without a Fielder signing significantly increases the probability that he ends up a Seattle Mariner.


Was it Taro who coined that phrase, or MLBTR or somebody?
Compelling case there w/r/t Baltimore.  Seattle has not typically been treated like that, because usually not in whatsoever on marquee FA's.  Maybe this is their first taste of Boras' Baltimore/DC soup.
There is a slightly softer take on this -- that Prince got all excited about an NL Central free agency, that he was drooling for months about being a Cub or Cardinal (or Marlin).  The way Jr. drooled about being a Red.
The dream kicked out from under him now, maybe he just needs a few days now to adjust to the new reality.  Maybe he'll get his head around the idea of a move to the American League, being a hero in a strange city.


First real counter to the "Ms have pole position, but need to wait out Boras as he does his dance" interpretation.
Sounds to me like the Ms' terms are not necessarily materially better than other teams' (contrary to what we had thought/assumed), and they're just part of a scrum of teams elbowing for position and hoping to grab the meteor once gravity overtakes the force of Boras' voice and it starts heading back to earth.
[Metaphorically speaking, of course.]
It increasingly looks like Nationals ownership views PF as a strategic acquisition in an ongoing ground- and air-war with the Os, which is leading me to ignore the baseball people talking about how much they like Adam LaRoche.
Not looking good, in my opinion.


it sounded less like baloney and more like some solid information.
But if we provisionally accept it as true, that the M's are just one of a bunch of teams hoping to catch fruit that just falls off the tree, to me it doesn't line up with Zduriencik waiting it out so long and holding off on other pursuits while doing so. I know the counter is that he's not missing out on anything yet, but the point is not that some deal he would otherwise make HAS gone down with another team, it's that he would be risking that he will wake up one morning and it WILL go down. You'd never know it until it happened. And every day that goes by increases the chance that it will happen.
I don't know. Jack doesn't strike me as a guy who builds his whole offseason around a lengthy crapshoot. Not only that, but it would be a VERY poor public relations move at a point in Mariners history where they can ill afford one to go into mid-January with the fans and local media talking about nothing but Fielder, doing nothing substantial to suppress expectations, and then presenting the fans with an offseason of John Jaso, Iwakuma, Kawasaki, and Aaron Heilman. 


Is it Dan Duquette?  Peter Gammons?  Mitch Williams?  Did Chuck Armstrong or Scott Boras tell them this?  Drayer said that it wasn't Boras.  I'll venture a guess that Armstrong didn't, either.
A "source" sounds imposing.  The individual persons who issue these opinions themselves are working off preferences and guesswork just like us.
The M's are tight with their info; this Source didn't get his info from the Mariners.  Drayer says this Source isn't in Boras' camp, and Boras is hardly likely to tell any Source that the Mariners, his leading suitor from a PR standpoint, aren't a factor.
I learned long ago that baseball people will project their own preferences onto the situation and sell those preferences as insider knowledge.  :- )


1.  The Mariners have represented themselves as VERY interested in Fielder, and willing to pay a lot.
2.  Boras has represented Fielder as not very keen on playing for the Mariners.
3.  (Almost) every other team in MLB has represented itself as not very keen on Fielder.
That's what we know.  The Sources have been locked out of the inside info by Armstrong and Boras.  Those sources are issuing guesses that are all over the map.


than all the national guys who change the team that Fielder will go to every other day just to keep the news cycle going.
She has her source, but so do they, and most of them wind up being wrong in the end.  Offseason rumor-mongering is fun, but it's not accurate news because the people who do know - namely the Ms and Boras - are not talking on or off the record.
*shrugs* We're getting to crunch time.  If we're offering the same 5/$110 that the Nationals are (eventually) offering if they miss out on the Cuban, the Nats will win.  They're closer to his home, in his familiar league, etc.
We will have to offer more years.  If I was Price I'd take 3 years at a HUGE salary then go for a 6 year deal at age 30.
But it sounds like Boras wants either an 8 year deal or a 4-5 which should still have a healthy Prince at the end trying to get his last Carlos Delgado deal.
I'm hoping we have the 8/$180 on the table and Fielder/Boras blinks once all the other dance partners have left the floor.
OTOH, if Prince REALLY doesn't want to be here (as opposed to Boras wanting the biggest cash and press win possible) then best of luck to him...
And to Jack because we'll need a better plan B than Heilman, as stated above.


Number of years is a Boras prime directive here.  Right.
If I'm feeling emotionally unsettled :- ) I go back to CA's grapevine that the M's have indicated they'd go 8 / $220 with a club option.  That has a settling feel to it. 

glmuskie's picture

The Washington Post blog post/article indicating the Nationals are 'patiently and aggressively' pursuing Fielder also indicates that part of the grist for that mill is the owners meeting with Boras.  It also mentioned Boras meeting with numerous other ownership groups.
If I'm a GM, this tactic of Boras going over the heads of the GM ticks me off.  It is a big-time kick to the man region.  Yes the owner is the owner, he/she/it can do wahtever they see fit with their toy/investment.  Still.  I can't imagine that this sits well with GM's, and I can't imagine them not taking great offense at both Boras and his bosses if this happens in a given negotiation.
I'm surprised, actually, that it seems to be so prevalent, and that it seems to be so tolerated by GM's.  At least I haven't heard boo about GM's annoyed at owners injecting themselves in to baseball discussions that they are (usually) less knowledgable of.

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