Nationals Emerge As Favorite For Fielder?

5:11pm: The Nationals’ local TV revenue is about to “double, triple or more,” a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Owner Ted Lerner is already the wealthiest in MLB, according to Forbes.  One of Rosenthal’s sources expects the Nationals to sign Fielder, though the first baseman will want a full no-trade clause.  LaRoche’s presence on the roster wouldn't stop the team from making a move, Rosenthal writes.

2:17pm: Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post has quotes from the always-colorful Scott Boras:

"As I’ve told many, there’s a lot of passengers on the PF Flyer.  I keep having discussions with teams, and they keep coming back after those discussions. We are having a very robust and constant communication with many teams.  We’ve had an opportunity over the last 10 days to certainly get more definition, I would say. Normally in free agency, after a period of time you have teams that move to the background. When we think that’s happened, those teams have called back and they’ve changed their position."

The Lerner family's stance against a big-money splash has thawed, writes Kilgore.  Who better to pursue than a man Boras describes as "a combination of Henry Kissinger and Frank Howard?"

10:34am: One MLB official told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel recently that "word is spreading in the industry that the Washington Nationals have emerged as the favorite" to sign Prince Fielder.

What to make of this rumor?  Haudricourt is reliable, but he made it clear that he is relaying the opinion of "the industry" as passed through one MLB official.  So the source doesn't appear to be from Scott Boras' camp, nor from the Nationals.  Still, the rumor echoes something ESPN's Buster Olney wrote on Thursday: "Some rival executives strongly believe that Washington will be the eventual landing place for Fielder."   That same day, a Nationals player suggested to Jon Heyman the team was in the mix.  

The biggest obstacle to the Nationals signing Fielder seems to be having Adam LaRoche under contract for one year, which did not seem like a major impediment prior to the offseason.  GM Mike Rizzo left the door open a crack for Fielder last Wednesday when talking to Mike Ferrin on MLB Network Radio, speaking at length about LaRoche but adding, "As far as, are we going to dabble our toe in that [Fielder] water?  Those are decisions that we make early on in the process and we've more or less decided that Adam is going to be our first baseman unless something extraordinary, out of the ordinary happened, that's how we're going to go to Spring Training."

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