Why Your Team Won’t Sign Prince Fielder

Scott Boras isn't likely to send client Prince Fielder to play for the St. Paul Saints next year; obviously he'll wind up with one of baseball's 30 teams.  Still, there are good reasons for every single team not to give Fielder the megadeal he's expected to seek.

  • Orioles: The Orioles could probably fit in Prince's salary without raising payroll, but would a new GM jump in with a $100MM+ commitment for a team that isn't expected to compete in 2012?  Is there any way they'd win the bidding on a top Boras client?  Fielder is not a good long-term signing for the Orioles, who may prefer to give Chris Davis a full season at first base if he continues to avoid labrum surgery.  All that said, they will probably at least be in the mix.
  • Red Sox: This could only work if Fielder replaces David Ortiz as the team's full-time DH, given the presence of Adrian Gonzalez at first.  The Sox clearly have bigger concerns and are highly unlikely to make Fielder the game's first $100MM DH.
  • Yankees: To open up first base, the Yanks would have to trade Mark Teixeira despite his full no-trade clause.  Fielder is not clearly better, so don't expect that manuever.  While DH is technically possible, it's wise to leave that spot open for Alex Rodriguez, who is under contract through 2017.  Plus, starting pitching will be a more immediate concern than offense.
  • Rays: Something tells me they won't have Fielder taking up half their payroll.
  • Blue Jays: I expect the first base and DH spots to be filled by Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion again; they'd earn a total of $8.5MM next year.  However, Lind has been disappointing and the Blue Jays could certainly afford Fielder, if you'd like to dream on it.
  • White Sox: Paul Konerko is locked in through 2013; Adam Dunn through 2014.  In theory Dunn could be dumped, but not for the purpose of Kenny Williams oddly cozying up to Boras for a massive Fielder contract.
  • Indians: They don't have the payroll space for it, nor does signing Fielder fit with their long-term plan.
  • Tigers: Miguel Cabrera will occupy first base through 2015, while DH Victor Martinez is signed through 2014.
  • Royals: Their future is with Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler.
  • Twins: They have to be worried about Justin Morneau and could have an open DH spot this offseason.  Technically the Twins could afford Fielder without raising payroll, but they have needs all over the place and this would not be their style.
  • Angels: Though he missed all of 2011, Boras client Kendrys Morales should be in the first base mix next year, as well as Mark Trumbo.  Bobby Abreu is under contract for '12 as the DH.  While the Angels could afford Fielder, it is tough to see Arte Moreno winning that bid.  A pursuit of Aramis Ramirez to play third base is more reasonable.
  • Athletics: I imagine they'd like to see Brandon Allen and Daric Barton compete for first base next year, with a cheap free agent DH signing.  Fielder would be hard to fit into the payroll, and the team's outfield uncertainty will likely be a big focus.
  • Mariners: The Ms would probably like to see Justin Smoak and Mike Carp in their regular lineup.  I think they could afford Fielder, but I can't see them making that DH investment.
  • Rangers: Mitch Moreland, Mike Napoli, and Michael Young will all be back next year unless someone is traded.  With a big arbitration class, the Rangers would need to raise payroll just to re-sign C.J. Wilson or sign a comparable starter, so I don't think Fielder fits in financially either.
  • Braves: They're surely content with Rookie of the Year contender Freddie Freeman.
  • Marlins: Gaby Sanchez has this spot locked down on the cheap.
  • Mets: Even with a payroll reduction the Mets should have some money to burn, but not Fielder money while embroiled in a huge lawsuit.  Ike Davis' status is uncertain, but that's not going to push the Mets to Fielder.
  • Phillies: Ryan Howard is signed through 2016.
  • Nationals: An $8MM Adam LaRoche is not a huge roadblock to Fielder, and Boras will certainly try to get the Nationals involved.  While Mike Morse could move to left field, a big extension for Ryan Zimmerman could be preferable to Washington.
  • Cubs: Boras needs to get the Cubs involved in the Fielder bidding.  While the Cubs could afford him, their needs for starting pitching and perhaps a third baseman should be equally pressing. The team's new GM will have alternatives in Carlos Pena, Michael Cuddyer, and Albert Pujols.
  • Reds: They've got Joey Votto through 2013, plus a lack of payroll space if Brandon Phillips is retained.
  • Astros: Brett Wallace and Carlos Lee have their flaws, and Jonathan Singleton is a ways off, but it'd be a radical departure for the Astros to go after Fielder.
  • Brewers: Last year, Fielder reportedly turned down an offer from the Brewers that was similar to Howard's five-year, $125MM deal.  Since then the Brewers locked up Ryan Braun through 2020, so they might not be able to make that offer again even if Prince is interested.
  • Pirates: The Pirates could sign Fielder and still have one of the game's smallest payrolls.  I don't think GM Neal Huntington has committed even $20MM total to a player in his tenure, and it'd cost that much for one year of Fielder.  It just doesn't seem like his style, but if ownership decides that the team is close they do technically have the need and payroll space.  
  • Cardinals: It's difficult to see Fielder as anything more than a long shot Plan C for the Cards.  If Pujols signs elsewhere while Fielder is still on the market, and the idea of re-signing Lance Berkman to play first base doesn't pan out either, I guess the Cardinals could look into Fielder.
  • Diamondbacks: I think they could afford him, but they have Paul Goldschmidt as their future.
  • Rockies: They don't have the money for it, and Todd Helton is under contract through 2013.
  • Dodgers: They'll have an opening, but payroll flexibility is the question.  Attendance and payroll will be down, and without a new owner in place by year's end the Dodgers won't be able to bid for Fielder.
  • Padres: Anthony Rizzo struggled as a rookie, but Jed Hoyer isn't jumping into the Fielder bidding.
  • Giants: Aubrey Huff is only under contract through 2012, but signing Fielder would make Brandon Belt a permanent outfielder.  Maybe that could work, but payroll flexibility will be very limited.  The focus may be on signing Tim Lincecum and finding a shortstop and an outfielder or two.


Full Story | 171 Comments | Categories: Prince Fielder

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171 Comments on "Why Your Team Won’t Sign Prince Fielder"


rayking
3 years 11 months ago

There is zero chance that they sign both guys, but Tony LaRussa would gladly play Pujols in right. Besides, he played Allen Craig in CF this weekend even though Craig is still gimpy from his stint from the DL and has never played CF professionally. Moreover, he started Ryan Erriot at SS and Skip at 2B for most of the year.

sjberke1
3 years 11 months ago

Re Nationals: Maybe having Adam LaRoche is not a problem (though you’d sure like to get something for him when you let him go), but what do you do with Mike Morse (who’ll probably start 2012 in LF) when Bryce Harper comes up? Maybe Morse or Harper or Werth can play center, but I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it. And they have to worry about extending Morse eventually as well as R. Zimmerman.

diehardmets
3 years 11 months ago

So, in short, the Nats boned themselves with Jason Werth’s contract.

3 years 11 months ago

+1 for the Franklin Stubbs reference, haven’t heard that name in awhile.

MaineSox
3 years 11 months ago

“0.9 WAR in 100 games isn’t very good for…anybody, really”

It’d be pretty good for me…

notsureifsrs
3 years 11 months ago

.9 WAR in 100 games is friggen amazing

– yuniesky betancourt

Bluebirdz
3 years 11 months ago

0.9 WAR is pretty good in 100[0] games
– Yuniesky Betancourt

(I think u missed a zero)

Crucisnh
3 years 11 months ago

Purple, you allude to a major factor that Tim Dierkes should have included in this otherwise fine article, i.e. the fact that Pujols is also a free agent this off-season, and what impact the presence of the two of them might have on each other’s negotiations as well as the teams that may or may not jump into the bidding.  I don’t think that most teams logic would be any different for Pujols than Fielder (except for the Cardinals).  They’re both potentially very expensive free agent 1B-men.  The same logic that makes Prince from going to team X would also apply equally to Pujols.

3 years 11 months ago

except that Pujols may very well cost more, but probably offers more.

Crucisnh
3 years 11 months ago

Pujols may think that he should cost more.  But in a 1B market without the biggest, richest teams (Yanks, Red Sox, Phillies) in the game, Albert may find that his market isn’t as lucrative as he’d like it to be.

3 years 11 months ago

possibly, but a team like the Jays or Cubs are almost certainly willing to pay more for him than Fielder.

Bluebirdz
3 years 11 months ago

Hey Prince Fielder is an extremely agile first baseman
-Scott Boras

chico65
3 years 11 months ago

Well, his name is Fielder after all.  Of course he’s agile.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 11 months ago

I think too many people are convinced Pujols will stay in St. Louis. While I agree that’s most likely, until it happens I tend to look at every reasonable variable.

That said, I think Boras’s job becomes a lot easier if Pujols stays in St. Louis. If Pujols does walk then it’ll be because of money and I think the Cards would sign Berkman again and shift him to first rather than being able to pay Fielder. If Pujols hits the open market then essentially, as you said, the same teams are bidding for both.

Who gets more money at the beginning of last year would have been hands down Pujols. But when you consider the 4 year age difference and Pujols having an “off year” the fact is Fielder might be a more attractive option.

Crucisnh
3 years 11 months ago

Purple, I agree with what you’ve said here.  I do think that it’s most likely that Pujols stays in St.Louis.  However, the longer they both stay unsigned, the worse it may be for the both of them, so you’re probably correct to think that Boras would love to see Pujols get re-signed by the Cards quickly.  And yes, Berkman to 1B is probably plan B for the Cards.

Plus I also agree that Fielder’s relative youth may be more attractive to teams.  He’s certainly younger and perhaps a bit cheaper.  Of course, he may not be quite as good as Pujols, but teams may fear signing AP for too long a deal and getting hurt at the back end of the deal when he’s around 40 yo.

3 years 11 months ago

he is certainly not as good as Pujols, not from an all-round perspective. (by all-round I do not mean geometric shape).

TheHotCorner
3 years 11 months ago

I wouldn’t disagree with your comment.  Though question whether the age factor offers a “more attractive options” considering Prince’s…um how do I politely say this…vegetarian sized body.  There is always the concern (right or wrong) with players of Prince’s girth being able to produce as they age.  So will the 4 years age difference make a difference in the number of productive years both players have left? 

East Coast Bias
3 years 11 months ago

Tim’s gone to the dark side, destroying hopes and dreams of fans… and I like it!

3 years 11 months ago

The problem with Fielder is that he’s going to want Ryan Howard money (thank you very much Rueben) and then some.  Given his body type and general lack of high end secondary skills (defense, base running) most teams are going to find it hard to even consider that.  The Cubs are the only true big market team with the need and the money but as of now they’re talking about player development and building from within, that doesn’t seem compatible with a $25+ million dollar home run hitter.  I like Fielder well enough, he’s good, I just don’t think he’s going to get what he thinks he’s worth.

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 11 months ago

It definitely isn’t their style, but when you have a top 2-3 farm in all of baseball, their prospects quickly rising through the minors, and the team already holding their own, giving up one of their 2 2012 1st round picks for a player who could drastically change their line-up is at least possible.

Given the Blue Jays have 2 offensively supermassive black holes on their roster (2B and 1B), and given the choices, I’d much rather sign Fielder and trade Lind (if E5 can keep hitting for the rest of the season) than sign Reyes and move Escobar to 2B, especially with Hechavarria having ridiculous numbers in his very small AAA sample size.

Lind would look great in a Mariners uniform, and his numbers certainly fit in well with them.

3 years 11 months ago

I wouldn’t call Lind a black hole at first, let alone a “supermassive” one. 

MaineSox
3 years 11 months ago

I’m thinking that was a Muse reference.

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 11 months ago

It definitely could have been, but, he definitely is no “Knight Of Cydonia,” and for some reason I feel no “Uprising” to his game. Taking Lind over Fielder is an “Unnatural Selection.”

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 11 months ago

Comparing his fWAR to the 1B of the AL East, and ever-depreciating numbers, I’d say he’s a supermassive black hole.

Lunchbox45
3 years 11 months ago

BABIP (LD%) by month
.291 (25.6%)
.500 (26.3%) (6 games).
306 (18.3%)
.238 (22.9%)
.200 (25.5%)

his GB%’s aren’t bad either, so those numbers are actually pretty encouraging

copyright notsureifsrs, 2011

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 11 months ago

Solid argument as always bud. Admittedly, I haven’t been a fan of Lind for a couple years now after 2009. There’s no consistancy to his hitting game.

3 years 11 months ago

the lack of really good plate discipline is to blame i think. he’s always gonna be a guy who has to hit in order to get on base at a reasonable clip, so when he slumps he doesnt do anything really productive for you. 

dont get me wrong – i’m a lind fan, plenty of very good big leaguers are in the same boat as far as plate discipline is concerned. he has one of the prettiest swings in bigs imo. 

0bsessions
3 years 11 months ago

Aren’t you contractually obligated to cite notsureifsrs whenever you use those figures?

xthetouristx
3 years 11 months ago

Lind in a Mariners uniform makes no sense.

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 11 months ago

I think you missed the pun.

3 years 11 months ago

My guess is the Pirates.  They need a 1B, have the money, and Prince could be all they need to take the division.  Also, they are the only team that doesn’t really have a reason not to other than a vague reference to “style”, not taking into account that this is the closest the Pirates have been to being a contender in 17 years.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 11 months ago

Geez, the Pirates are already ruining baseball by spending so much on the draft and now you want them to ruin FA by giving Fielder a 9 digit contract?

East Coast Bias
3 years 11 months ago

hahaaha love this comment

Lunchbox45
3 years 11 months ago

Shoewalter doesn’t

MaineSox
3 years 11 months ago

I wonder what Showalter’s reaction would be if the O’s went out and bought Pujols or Fielder?  Think he’d try to tear down his own GM?

TheFreak2011
3 years 11 months ago

The Pirates don’t have enough pitching, with or without Fielder.

Crucisnh
3 years 11 months ago

guy, I do agree that the Jays do look like a team that appears to have the ability and arguably the need to jump into the Fielder (or Pujols, for that matter) sweepstakes.  Either one would seem to be a huge upgrade at 1B.  And as you correctly point out, being an AL team, moving either to DH as they age then becomes an option.

M_Harden
3 years 11 months ago

Hill’s not coming back.

3 years 11 months ago

I wouldn’t bet against it. Who do you replace him with?  It seems not unlikely that they decline his options and resign him for one year at lower price.  they get a stop gap, he gets the opportunity to rebuild value.

MaineSox
3 years 11 months ago

Definitely not his style.  That’s why he’s going to get the Angels to sign him and then trade Teahen and Tallet for him, while the Angels pay half of his contract.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 11 months ago

Ah, the Angels… the running gag of 2011.

3 years 11 months ago

 Well said sir, well said.

Crucisnh
3 years 11 months ago

You may be correct, purple.  But the Jays do seem to be a more likely option than a lot of other teams out there.  The top 3 teams in MLB all have 1B-men signed long term.  And there are a number of other teams with great 1B-men signed long term.  The key is finding a team with the resources (and the willingness to spend those resources) and some degree of need for a 1B-man.  The Jays just seem like one of the better fits here from that perspective.  

Whether they have the will or desire to jump into the fray is, of course, a different story.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 11 months ago

Alright, I can buy into that argument. The real fact does seem to be the first baseman market, despite potentially having 2 elite hitters on it, is hard to predict. This will sound obvious, but the lower the price tag the more likely the Jays are to make a serious offer.

Crucisnh
3 years 11 months ago

I do tend to agree that it doesn’t seem likely that AA would want to spend silly money on either Pujols or Fielder.  They’re just a team that has the positive factors saying that they’re a team that could arguably make a play for either one, whether they are actually interested or not.  Just as there are some teams that probably are not in the running simply because they already have their own elite 1B-man. Nope, it’s not too complex to figure out that part of it.  As to which teams are going to be willing to join the fray, well, that’s another story entirely. We can only really see who has a need and who would seem to have the resources.

Crucisnh
3 years 11 months ago

Agreed.  About the only change I’d have made to the story is include both Fielder and Pujols, since both will be free agents.  And discuss how the presence of two high profile top free agent 1B-men could impact things.

Lunchbox45
3 years 11 months ago

in Lind’s defense.. he was well on his way to a 2.3 fWAR season before his most recent brutal slump took him way, way down..

MaineSox
3 years 11 months ago

That’s probably true, but that can happen to any player, it’s just something that happens (Bautista was on pace for 15 WAR earlier this season, that doesn’t mean he’s 15 WAR good this year).  Plus, that just means he was on pace to be average.

Lunchbox45
3 years 11 months ago

I guess thats up for debate.. Bautista’s start was clealry unsustainable for any human being, so a fall down to grace to a 7 or 8 WAR was inevitable..

Where as Lind’s pace was sustainable, he has already proven he can sustain it for a year.. my hope is that the rigors of playing defensively have just caught up to him. ..

Let me just make myself clear, you and Notsureifsrs are clearly right, Lind has been subpar, especially from a 1B standpoint this season.. I think most Jays fans would (optimistically) assume that he can do more.

notsureifsrs
3 years 11 months ago

use the babip numbers i gave you, dammit. they’re your best argument

Lunchbox45
3 years 11 months ago

lol i totally already did below.

BABIP (LD%)
by month .291 (25.6%)
.500 (26.3%) (6 games)
.306 (18.3%)
.238 (22.9%)
.200 (25.5%)

his GB%’s aren’t bad either, so those numbers are actually pretty encouraging

Copyright. Notsureifsrs, 2011

notsureifsrs
3 years 11 months ago

boom

Sniderlover
3 years 11 months ago

yeah he’s been getting really unlucky.

Some positive things I’ve seen from him lately is that he is starting to hit the other way more often like he did in 09.

We need a new hitting coach dammit!!!!

MaineSox
3 years 11 months ago

Okay so I had no idea about his BABIP

MaineSox
3 years 11 months ago

Fair enough, and to be honest I wouldn’t be all that surprised if his true talent was closer to his 3.5ish WAR peak, but even that is merely good-not great for a first baseman and shouldn’t stop them from getting a player of Fielder’s caliber. (not that I’m condoning them getting Fielder, only that Lind shouldn’t be what stops them)

Lunchbox45
3 years 11 months ago

Allow me to fix this.. if we are talking hypothetical, might as well go full out..

SS Escobar
CF Rasmus
1B Pujols
RF Bautista
DH Lind
3B Lawrie
LF SNIDER
C Arencibia
2B Johnson

MaineSox
3 years 11 months ago

Weak.

SS Escobar
CF Rasmus
1B Pujols
RF Bautista
DH Fielder
3B Lawrie
LF SNIDER
C Arencibia
2B Johnson

Lunchbox45
3 years 11 months ago

hahaha . imagine.

then trade the farm for Felix and boom.

OKGOJAYS85
3 years 11 months ago

Or trade for Felix with Hill, Lind, Thames, and/or Encarnacion as their names do not appear above

xthetouristx
3 years 11 months ago

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Go back to playing The Show on PS3….

OKGOJAYS85
3 years 11 months ago

How would 4 MLB level talent guys who are all under 30 and have 20HR potential be a bad thing for Seattle who has the worst offence in the MLB

Jose_Bautista
3 years 11 months ago

Nicely put lol.

xthetouristx
3 years 11 months ago

Oh you mean 4 guys who don’t currently play half their games at Safeco?  4 guys who would be neutered at Safeco generally speaking?  When they already have a logjam at 1B, LF, and 2B?

Jack Z has turned down better offers.

Felix would cost the Blue Jays Drabek, Lawrie, and Arencibia (or more).

OKGOJAYS85
3 years 11 months ago

Nope I mean the 4 guys who just hit 8 hour as a team in 3 games at safeco. I also would not throw the term “log jam” around describing a team who put together a 17 game losing streak. I would describe it more like a torrent river of players needed

xthetouristx
3 years 11 months ago

How many of Casper Wells, Trayvon Robinson, Mike Carp, Justin Smoak, and Franklin Gutierrez were healthy and on the team during that 17 game losing streak?  Zero!  Well, Carp came in at the tail end of it.  Smoak and Gutierrez have both played injured.

Anyway, Felix is ours, but keep dreaming, guy.

FrankTheFunkasaurusRex
3 years 11 months ago

lulz.
 
 
 
 
 
This is a joke, right?

OKGOJAYS85
3 years 11 months ago

The Jays better supply “depends” for opposing pitchers facing that line-up, but to make things more interesting I would throw a speed/OBP guy between each slugger, say:
Escobar
Bautista
Rasmus
Pujols
Lawrie
Fielder
Snider
Arencibia
Johnson

Lunchbox45
3 years 11 months ago

its funny, cuz I’m looking at this lineup with a boner.. but totally reasonable to believe that this would be unfair and too easy and ofcourse never happen..

then I look at the red sox lineup and they pretty much already have this.

xthetouristx
3 years 11 months ago

Yeah, when they’re healthy and performing….

OKGOJAYS85
3 years 11 months ago

This makes me think you have an inside track on the mind of AA, SEE who you have as hitting 9th at 2B a full day before he was traded to the Jays…WOW!

3 years 11 months ago

I would disagree that this is the final piece though.  They need something to fall into place in their rotation (probably an internal fix) and they need to “fix” the bullpen.  They certainly are getting closer though.

notsureifsrs
3 years 11 months ago

depending on what he signs for, i like c.j. wilson for toronto. it’s nice to fill out the rotation from within, but a lot riskier

we haven’t found out yet if anthopolous’s kung-fu negotiating works on free agents, but we may be about to

OKGOJAYS85
3 years 11 months ago

After the way he has manhandled the Jays twice this year we should take a stab at harden as well.

Lunchbox45
3 years 11 months ago

harden for 2012 closer.

John DiRienzo
3 years 11 months ago

i agree. we must kill him

OKGOJAYS85
3 years 11 months ago

NOTE: I am a Jays fan not a Dodgers Fan or an Oakland Raiders Fan,  there will be no stabbing here.

Remember92
3 years 11 months ago

With player options the Pirates will most likely decline in the offseason and exercise buyouts. Their opening day payroll next year could be lower than this year. Or right around 40 million. They could extend Cutch, Walker, and sign a Pujols / Fielder type and their payroll is still only in the 70 million range. Attendance will hit 2 million this year. And they’re raising ticket prices after the season. And a huge signing like this would boost luxury box ticket sales and corporate sales. It isn’t entirely unimaginable to see the Pirates become players for one of the two.

3 years 11 months ago

in fairness, the Morales card seems like a pretty legitimate one.

3 years 11 months ago

I really don’t understand why you think Moreno sucks. He buys the Angels and brings in Vlad Guerrero – MVP, Bartolo Colon – CY Young, agreed to pay Jered Weaver his high bonus in the draft and the Angels win the division more times than not since he’s owned the team. He even does this with lower ticket prices than they were with Disney… I just don’t get it. He’s not remotely comparable to the disgrace of a baseball businessman that the guy up the freeway is. I really wish Arte waited a year and had bought the Dodgers. I’d gladly trade you owners if you want.

3 years 11 months ago

LAA fans are just mad because he doesn’t sign the big free agents the fans dream of, and they are still embrassed because of the Vernon Wells fiasco (though not sure they can pin that on Arte).

vtadave
3 years 11 months ago

Sure they can pin Wells on Moreno. Think he didn’t have to sign off on taking on $80 million in dead weight?