Absolutely Right-O there on the Rangers situation there Doc! And here's another ping pong ball to throw in to the hopper ...
Ian Fitzsimmons from ESPN 103.3 in Dallas joined the Kevin Calabro show today and talked about the Yu Darvish deal at length before turning to the topic of Prince Fielder ...
Fitzsimmons said that Nolan Ryan joined him on his show in Dallas yesterday, so they got a chance to talk about Darvish and the subject of the Rangers meeting with Prince Fielder came up. Fitzsimmons said that Nolan Ryan told him the Boras camp never gave the Rangers a formal request of what they’re looking for in terms of a contract. Fitzsimmons said:“they bounced around Ryan Howard-type money -- 8 year deals, 6 years deals – and Nolan basically choked on his steak. And it’s like, basically he [Nolan Ryan] believes that it’s going to come down to maybe 2 or 3 teams – and he believes the Rangers will be one of those teams, but it all depends on the years and the money. But he also said, 'Look, we can get around some of that by structuring it' (and this is just me coming up with this, this isn’t Nolan Ryan saying this yesterday on the show) but let’s say you do a 3 year opt out, you know, player opt out after 3 years. Do a 7 year contract -- $25 [million] per [year] – and the player can opt out after 3 years if he’s still raking like we hoped him to. Plus, this Texas team’s going to drop about 75 pounds off him, so he’s going to be in better shape. So all of a sudden, why wouldn’t you do that if you’re the Rangers?”Source:710 ESPN Kevin Calabro Show 1/20/12
So bottom line -- don't believe Jon Daniels who called Prince Fielder to the Rangers "unlikely".
Putting that in to the universal GM translator, that actually translates to: "A deal is highly unlikely if Boras keeps asking for Ryan Howard/Albert Pujols money ... but would be much more likely if the price actually rejoins the solar system."
Nolan Ryan himself said that the Rangers are very much interested -- it's going to all come down to whether or not Boras wants to move asking off his asking price of the entire Crown Jewel collection. If he does, then I envision the Rangers and a whole lot of teams (including the Mariners) hopping in to the mosh pit. ;)
In Mariner Analyst's "So You're Telling Me There's a Chance .... !" department, the East Coast internet chooses to interpret even this optimistically:
Bob Simpson, who along with Ray Davis is a Rangers principal owner and co-chairman of the board, said that the Rangers are operating at a deficit and will until the new TV contract starts in 2015 .... Fielder is not a viable option unless his price goes down and he would accept a backloaded deal.
"If they come around to something we can do, we'll take a look at it," Simpson said.
In one-syllable words, so we can understand it? "NO, SCOTT. WE'RE NOT GIVING YOU 7 YEARS AND $160M. If you want a firm 5-year offer, let us know and we'll see what ownership wants to do."
Which is what every ML franchise, other than the Mariners, has evidently told Boras. When the Nationals say "unless something changes," that doesn't mean "Unless we can bridge the gap between $160M and $180M." It means "unless he wants to sign on our terms. Unless he'll take five years, 6th year vested. He won't, so we're out."
Every thing that every franchise, other than the Mariners, has ever said has amounted to the same thing. Teixeira money, 8/180, just forget it. We're not even going to consider it. If you want to talk 5/120, give us a call. We've heard the same blinkin' thing, over and over, for a month.
And this morning, in case we didn't get it the first time, here comes a Texas owner with another -- public -- swat of Boras' weak slop. There goes the scoop shot, into the third row:
"I think he's, given our set of cards, too pricey," Simpson said. "And if that were to change, I guess they would look at that harder. But right now I think he's priced himself out of what we could do."
I hadn't realized, until just this winter, how hard the East Coast media roots for mega-FA's to go to (1) existing contenders or (2) teams within a cab ride of New York. But it's like Russ has been saying. New York doesn't scoff at the Mariners; it considers the Mariners irrelevant.
Minor note: the Rangers negotiated, through the media, that they want backloading. This obviously implies Boras' own aversion to delayed money. The guy wasn't born yesterday. He doesn't want a $28M, 325-lb. Fielder being laughed at in 2019.
The earlier suggestions that the Mariners simply give Fielder $15M per year, three year opt out, $25-30M per year after that, were out of contact with the reality of MLB negotiations.
The Washington Nationals, the other team pushed as a Fielder destination, just gave Michael Morse a contract extension. Morse went .303/.360/.550 with 31 home runs last year; as a left fielder, he was -22 runs per 150 games, UZR. Morse goofs off for a while in LF, just until Adam LaRoche can be shed, and then Morse plays 1B. The Nationals haven't yet been approved to use the DH during National League games.
Absolutely Right-O there on the Rangers situation there Doc! And here's another ping pong ball to throw in to the hopper ...
Boras isn't negotiating yet, he is still trying to whip up interest and in that he's failing. So that still leaves Seattle in control because they have far more payroll flexibility and willpower when it comes to signing Fielder. The M's can easily outbid the Rangers because the Rangers can't offer much money the first three years.
That's why Fitzsimmons' idea of giving an opt out after 3 years won't work. Texas can't pay him very much in those early years which means it doesn't do anything for Fielder. Jon Daniels is taking all of that into account when he says that signing Prince is very unlikely so he should be taken at his word.
FWIW, Scott Swaim of MLBInsideNews is reporting Fielder to the Nats on an 8-year deal with an opt out after year 3. He claims he was the first person to break the Pujols deal.
Link about him and his tweets.
A fun comment:
Just to expand on this as I have been watching MLBInsideNews's shenanigans for awhile, he originally was tweeting under the handle @ piodeportes1, supposedly tied to the PioDeportes spanish-language sports website. He has since changed it with no explanation or proving that he ever worked for that site. Also, check the site, the name Scott Swaim would kind of stand out. Back then, his favorite trick was to tweet a trade that was "about to go down" and then delete it a few minutes later. He would then tweet it again and delete it again, so that it kept showing up in the #mlb timeline.
The thing that kills me is that so many [idiots] now believe him, Angel fans especially because of his Pujols claim, that as an Angel blogger, I have to follow him just so I can keep track of the crazy rumors that he keeps starting. I really hate the internet sometimes.
I put no stock in it...but he could always be right. Prince has to sign SOMEwhere. Eventually.
It's not like he's sitting out the 2012 season, right?
Prince signs with us, or NOT the rangers, I will be happy. Now that we have Montero the hyper urgency to do some thing BIG for me is gone, and in fact I like the flexibility we have now, and would be happy to wait until next offseason to double down on a big time free agent. Plus I think it can be reasonably said that Prince doesn't REALLY want to play in Seattle and if he came here it would be ONLY for the extra bucks, and really I don't want to root for that type of player, one who is only here for the extra cash, and how can someone in that mindset (I don't want to be here but I am greedy) really play their hardest or impact those around him to play their hardest?
Have fun in DC Prince, I hope you don't wear down in the heat and humidity. Enjoy playing 1st base for the next 8 years ;) You missed out on a GREAT city btw. You would have loved it! Oh well your loss.
I love sports fans. Not to pick on OBF here at all, but I've seen this sentiment:
Now that we have Montero the hyper urgency to do some thing BIG for me is gone
... expressed in various forms across the M's blogosphere since the (still unfinished) "big" trade.
And it baffles me.
If I told you going into this off-season, one in which it was generally assumed that the M's had $17-$25 million dollars to spend that the BIG free agent acquisitions would be a one year bargain deal for Hisashi Iwakuma and a one year deal for lefty George Sherrill with a bunch of minor-league filler deals for the likes of Kevin Millwood, Oliver Perez and Munenori Kawasaki?
I mean, I guess I understand that, it's responsible spending, not like the M's have another $20 million coming off the books next year... oh wait, what? They do? /sarcasm
All offseason (wich seemed to have started right around a certain 17 game losing streak) I've hoped the M's would turn some of their question marks into exclamation points - and instead they've just created more question marks.
Can Montero catch? Who fills Pineda's void in the rotation? How long will we need to bridge before the young guns of Hultzen, Paxton and Walker are ready? How do the new Japanese imports translate?
Add these to the ?'s we already had like can Carp cut it for a full season in the field? Which Smoak is the real Smoak - 1st half stud or 2nd half swoon? Which of Trayvon, Wells, and Seager are legitimate major league options? Which of the pile sticks? What of the rotation back ends? Is it Beavan? Furbush? Or maybe a sleeper like Erasmus Ramirez or Forrest Snow?
So the sentiment, the "alright, let's wait and see what we got", the idea that the M's need to allow the roster questions to resolve themselves before they commit big to free agents, I get it. I understand it. I do.
I just don't like it.
Look, I get Moneyball too. Doesn't mean I have to accept the premise. The Oakland A's are a 16 mile drive across the bay from AT&T park (less than 10 as the crow flies) in the 4th largest media market in the US, yet they are a "small market" team who's payroll is half that of their neighbor?
The tax-payers of Seattle built a billion dollar stadium that is still state of the art. The Seattle media market is the 13th largest in the nation, and when you add in the proximate and baseball free cities of Vancouver and Portland, and the entire country of Japan, you have a regional powerhouse of a team. Recent estimates place the value of the franchise at well over $600 million.
We do not have to reduce payroll and trudge through another season of "maybe, if all things break right". The ownership group is choosing to.
While Texas has back-to-back WS appearances and tosses $120+ million at the best available international FA. While LAofA adds the best bat of the generation and the top domestic FA starter.
We make a couple of revenue neutral trades and bargain one-year deals.
I get it. I understand. Me no like.
I was a middle child, I can take it :)
I totally understand your macro point. It bothers me as well that we seem to have a Front Office that cares more about nicely arranged financial spread sheets then it does winning games.
But in this specifc case, I personally think that Prince is no longer the right way to go. And I would much rather save the money for next year than to Bavasi up the joint with a bunch of middling veteren filler that just serves to block youth. If that mean we go into 2012 10 million short of last years payroll, so be it. Maybe the young M's prove their pluck and we trade for Josh Hamilton midseason and extend him with those extra millions (or Votto, or whoever).
You are certainly right that the M's current roster has a LOT of questions, and with the Montero trade indicating that we are truly going with the youth movement I WOULD like some of those questions answered before buying the 24 million dollar house on the lake, just to see my lucritive job ship me to Asia for a couple years (ok my methaphors got mixed and confusing, sorry).
Anyway, with the Montero trade i guess I have moved solidly over to the Sandy camp ;) especially in regards to Prince since he really squashes a lot of Monteros flexibility in terms of if he isnt a catcher, and the last thing I want the M's to do is give up on Smoak and trade him for cents on the dollar. Certainly if Prince was a SS, 3B, or OF I would be much more inclined to be on your side champing at the bit for the M's to pony up. But for a 300 pound DH (who DOES NOT want to DH btw), that has clearly indicated he DOESNOT want to play here??? Not thanks. Go have fun in Washington DC. My biggest wish for Fielder is just that he doesnt sign with the rangers ;) He will be a monster in Alrington.
... is probably the report that is most realistic: nobody with any idea where he's going, but the logjam seems to be breaking some.
If Fielder goes to the NL, that won't sting too much because (1) the Mariners have made it clear they're going after a Big Bat one way or another, and (2) it will be quite amusing to watch a Fielder-1B-NL saga play out over the course of eight-ten years. Imagine David Ortiz, plus 40 lbs., playing first. :- )
If the M's don't get Prince, they've made it clear that they'll get somebody like him. Might not happen right this second, but ...
has Fielder "clearly indicated he DOES NOT want to play here"?
That one must have slipped by me. We've made the assumption that the M's have the only offer out there within spitting distance of his demands. If we are wrong, how would we know? How do we know the M's aren't sitting there with everyone else waiting out Boras?
Do we trust the "signals" JZ has sent?
WANTS to be in Texas. By evidence that HE HIMSELF went there, and had personal discussions with the Rangers brass. JackyZ has only gotten to talk to Boras, I have read nothing about any actually talks with Prince only with Boras. Prince's stated desire is to remain close to his off season home in Florida, and to play for a "winner". Neither of which come close to discribing Seattle. And reading the tea leaves a bit, Texas seems to appeal to Fielder because he knows he will hit 40+ jacks year in year out there, where as Seattle has a park notorious for supressing runs, especially home runs (regardless of handedness, even though lefties do better, a lefty would do EVEN better in Texas).
Yes, in a lot of respects I am playing Internet Mind Reader, but in this case it sure seems to me that 2 + 2 = 4.
M's: Hey, Prince, we really want you to come here, and we will pay th most!
Prince: Ummm, hey Nationals what you got for me???
Nats: No thanks.
M's: [jumping up and down waving arms] Oh, Priiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnce, over here, hey over here, we got money, and a great city and you will be the toast of the town. Hey look over here!
Prince: Hmmmmm, Texas you looking for a 1b/DH????
Rangers: No, thanks
etc, etc, etc.
Even the Mariners' beat writers are falling for the media bias. Larry Stone (who admittedly never thought Prince was a likely signing) reports that the "noise has died down on our end, making it less likely Prince is our man." Why on Earth does that mean what you say it means, Larry? The media doesn't think Seattle will get Prince...so you agree? Why would there be noise? We made our offer a month ago and have been waiting patiently for Prince to give up his dreams of playing for some elite winner tomorrow and for ten years, be realistic, and give us a fair hearing. THERE'S NOTHING MORE TO BE DONE UNTIL BORAS AND FIELDER COME BACK TO US FOR OUR FINAL WORD. Which Boras is too smart to miss doing. We had an early, aggressive offer out there...after he sizes up the market...he'll be back to talk to us one more time. We'll either have enough money or we won't...but there shouldn't be and gosh darned noise right now...we aren't DOING anything because the position demands we not do anything.
And of course...the media is rooting HARD for Fielder to go to the Orioles or Nats or Rangers or Dodgers or Cubs...so hard that you hear things like "we're down to a final four teams...sources have linked Fielder to the Nationals, Rangers, Orioles and a fourth unknown team" The fourth unkown team?? REALLY?? They don't want Fielder i Seattle so badly they can't even say we're connected to him? This is beyond insane at this point.
As near as I can tell, Prince went on a road trip, and never paid Seattle a visit. Reports show that Prince went to Maryland, but what about all of the reports of his visit to Seattle? Surely he would have been spotted if he showed his Santa bearded face on Edgar Martinez drive.
If he likes Maryland so much, he should stay there. I hope its the Nats and not the Orioles. I have a hazy bad memory of an Orioles guy named Palmeiro who was a big guy who wore a trooper mustache and used to regularly torment the M's with three run home runs.
Maybe Seattle should concentrate on people who like it there. I hear Timmy Lincecum lives downtown. When is he a free agent?
Because not many baseball players like Seattle specifically.
Baseball is an increasingly latin pursuit...the American player pool has shrunk considerably...and the Northern origin ballplayers are even more rare (the types more likely to want Seattle than, say, LA or Atlanta or DC). Seattle is way out in left field...no one expressly WANTS to play here except losers who don't like the limelight. So...yeah...enjoy losing a lot...because that's what you'll do.
How did we get to the certainty that the M's have a big year, big $$ offer on the table? All I've seen is internet speculation and some vague Jack-isms about having the resources to make a move if one fell in his lap.
The M's were going to cut payroll last season until Jack and Armstrong made a pitch to keep it level with 2010. And then they went to the media and made darn sure that everyone knew it. Nothing like that has happened this year. The only things I've read about payroll outside the blogosphere are the "if they want to keep payroll the same" clauses that Stone and Baker use when they speculate and the "the M's are interested but don't have the money" items coming from the national press.
There is a pretty good chance that the M's are going into the season with an $89 million payroll and that it's been the plan all along. Those folks that said that the M's only had $4-5 million left to spend (that we all dismissed a weekor so ago) may have been right all along.
Tim Lincecum, could be convinced to come home, and Jacoby Ellsbury is from Madras, Oregon (went to OSU) I bet he has fond memories of the GPNW. Maybe Jon Lester could come home. I would take Brent Lillibridge at short or 3rd (although looks like the white sox want him to be an OF), and of course Potatoes O' Flaherty can come back as a Loogey. I wouldn't mind seeing if Grady is finally healthy again in center field, and Travis Snider could roam left field for us. Darwin Barney (also an OSU grad) could play SS or 2B, and Cole Gillespie (again OSU grad) will be a MLB player before long I think (OF). Kevin Gregg could be the closer and Eddie Kunz the setup guy (except the Mets totally screwed him up). Jeremy Guthrie could be a MOR and Jed Lowrie could be in our infield. Nick Hagadone might be an up and coming picther. Maybe Richie Sexson could come out of reitrement and be the batting coach? Matt Tui could ride the bench and Sean White could be backup mop up guy in the pen :)
Lets table this out:
Lincecum, Lester, Guthrie, Hagadone
Potatoes, Eddie Kunz, Kevin Gregg, Sean White
2b -- Jed Lowrie
3b -- Brent Lillibridge
ss -- Darwin Barney
lf -- Jacoby Ellsbury
cf -- Grady Sizemore
rf -- Travis Snider
C -- JAMIE BURKE!
DH (player/coach) -- Richie Sexson
Bench -- Cole Gillespie, Tui
We just need a 1b.... Maybe Prince Fielder is avalible?!?!? :)
And I am officially starting the BRING BACK JAIME BURKE club right now!
OK, so that isnt a great team, but it IS a legitimate team (I mean look at what the M's have run out the last few years!) I had a little too much fun with that thanks for helping me waste a half hour at work :)
...then there is nothing remotely redeeming or likable about this club and no reason to be a fan of it. Period. Not after what LA and Texas have done.