Prince Fielder Rumors
The Rangers officially got their man today, signing Yu Darvish to a six-year, $60MM contract on top of the $51.7MM posting fee they will now pay the Nippon Ham Fighters. Darvish will wear #11 with the Rangers according to Jeff Wilson of The Forth Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter), a number that NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman says will be semi-retired by Nippon Ham. Here's the latest from Texas...
- The Rangers remain interested in Prince Fielder, but Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News says it would likely take a creative, short-term deal to make it happen.
- “I’m intimately aware of our budget and it’s very unlikely," said GM Jon Daniels to reporters (including MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan) when asked about Fielder. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports corroborates these reports (Twitter link), saying the slugger's price must come way down.
- Morosi adds (on Twitter) that the Rangers and Josh Hamilton shelved extension talks recently so they could focus on Darvish and their arbitration-eligible players. Hamilton doesn't want to talk about a new deal once Spring Training starts.
- "Sometimes these negotiations can be contentious, these were not," said Daniels to reporters (including Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest.com) when asked about the nature of the Darvish discussions today (Twitter link).
It's been nearly a month since the Rangers won the bidding for Yu Darvish, which means the deadline for a deal is approaching. The Rangers have until 4pm CDT Wednesday to work out a deal with the Japanese right-hander. Here’s the latest from Texas...
- Rangers officials continue downplaying the chances of signing both Darvish and Prince Fielder, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- Morosi hears that extension talks with Josh Hamilton are on hold at the moment, while the club works on the Darvish deal. Hamilton will earn $13.75MM in 2012 and is set to hit free agency once the season ends.
- Heyman hears that the Rangers are likely to sign Darvish to a contract worth slightly more than the $52MM Daisuke Matsuzaka obtained from the Red Sox.
- The Rangers seem to love the idea of signing Fielder and would become the favorite to land the slugger if the Darvish deal falls through, Heyman writes.
- The Rangers have three unsigned arbitration eligible players: Mike Napoli, Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus.
Some odds and ends as Sunday night winds down ...
- The Rangers can afford to sign both Yu Darvish and Prince Fielder, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN.
- The Twins had interest in signing relievers Dan Wheeler and Todd Coffey before inking Joel Zumaya, tweets Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities radio. Mackey adds he'd be surprised if the Twins closed the door entirely on signing either righty.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said in a statement that the two club options included in Gio Gonzalez's extension were key to getting the deal done, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- The Rockies were not interested in signing Bartolo Colon, now of the A's, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- The Red Sox officially announced the signings of right-handers Aaron Cook and Justin Germano to minor league contracts, tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
Cardinals GM John Mozeliak spoke to fans and media at the team's 16th annual Winter Warm-Up today, touching on a wide range of topics. MLB.com's Matthew Leach was there, and provided us with a rundown of all the news. Let's recap...
- Mozeliak called the Albert Pujols negotiations "exhausting (and) frustrating," but said it is time to move on. "[It] just creates new opportunities for us," he added.
- "In terms of what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, I really can’t get into those types of details," said Mozeliak when asked about a potential contract extension for Yadier Molina, who can become a free agent after the season. "But I assure we’re going to try to find a way to make it work. I know that he also wants to try to be here as well, so usually when you have that type of understanding and mutual agreement, you usually can get something resolved.”
- "I haven’t heard anything about it and I probably won’t until they see that I’m healthy and out there rolling," said Adam Wainwright when asked about a potential contract extension, according to Leach. "But of course I want to finish my career here, everybody knows that. Everybody that plays here wants to finish their career here."
- When asked about the possibility of signing Roy Oswalt, Mozeliak replied that he likes "the idea of an insurance policy" for the rotation. "There’s no doubt that he would be a nice addition, but I just don’t know how practical it is at this time," he added.
- Unsurprisingly, Mozeliak made it very clear that the Cardinals will not be signing Prince Fielder. He said any further additions would likely involve a pitcher and not a hitter.
- Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny have spoken about bringing Jim Edmonds back to the organization in some non-playing capacity. “As far as what the role looks like or how we define it, we haven’t done that yet,” said the GM.
Yesterday it was reported that the Cubs aren't out on Prince Fielder, despite acquiring Anthony Rizzo. Fielder met with the Rangers, who, along with the Nationals and Cubs, could offer a six-year contract with an average annual value in the $22-24MM range. Fielder and Yu Darvish may not be mutually exclusive for Texas, but they may need to choose whether to invest in Fielder or Josh Hamilton long-term. Here are today's rumors:
- Talks between the Nationals and Fielder are back on according to Pete Kerzel of MASNSports.com, and Washington is "again making a strong pitch" to sign him.
- Signing Fielder is "just not going to happen" for the Cubs, manager Dale Svuem told reporters, including Chris De Luca and Godron Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link).
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets that the Rangers were impressed with how trim and fit Fielder looked in their meeting yesterday.
- Nolan Ryan says the Rangers' meeting with Fielder yesterday was just to see where he was at in the free agent process, tweets Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram also tweets that the talks were preliminary.
The Nationals continue to be in on the Prince Fielder sweepstakes, although the club is not willing to give him a ten-year deal like Albert Pujols got from the Angels, a baseball source tells Bill Ladson of MLB.com. Ladson also writes that the Nats are out on Yoenis Cespedes.
While the Nationals won't go to a ten-year deal for Fielder it does appear that the club is willing to give the slugger a no-trade clause. An industry source believes that the Nats want to give Fielder a six- or seven-year deal.
Ladson notes that contract length was also a stumbling block when Washington went after left-hander Mark Buehrle. The club offered a three-year deal but Buehrle ended up signing a four-year, $58MM contract with the Marlins instead.
Prince Fielder will sign before Spring Training, but he probably won't agree to a long-term deal with the Dodgers or Marlins, or a one-year deal with the Brewers, according to yesterday's reports. Here are today's Fielder rumors, with the most recent updates up top:
- An executive tells ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link) that the Cubs, Nationals and Rangers could receive a Fielder contract structure of six years and $22-$24MM per season, but with an opt-out clause after three years.
- The Rangers' pursuit of Fielder may come down to whether they believe Fielder or Josh Hamilton is the better choice for a multiyear contract, writes Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas.
- Fielder will travel to see several teams in the next few days, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.
- The Rangers are meeting with Fielder at a Dallas area hotel today, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. It sounds as though the Rangers don't consider Fielder and Yu Darvish mutually exclusive. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram hears that the Rangers are interested in Fielder in case they don't sign Darvish (Twitter link).
- One executive who speaks with the Nationals regularly tells ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that he’s confident Fielder will end up in Washington. GM Mike Rizzo and the team’s owners won’t sign a nine or ten-year deal and may not offer the first baseman a no-trade clause, however.
- The Cubs are not totally out on Fielder, Stark reports. If agent Scott Boras needs a deal somewhere, the Cubs would be open to an agreement on their own terms.
- One observer tells Stark that Boras and Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria chatted briefly at this week’s owners’ meetings and that reports of a meeting are overblown.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports explains that Boras has been shut out of the big money so far this offseason and argues that the agent can turn things around by finding a massive deal for Fielder.
- Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post explains how Boras could represent almost the entire Washington lineup within a couple of seasons if the Nationals sign Fielder.
- Tom Verducci of SI.com explains that local and national TV revenues can help the Nationals add Fielder while keeping Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman in place even as their contracts escalate.
While there's no guarantee that Prince Fielder will sign soon, he will be off of the market by Spring Training. Agent Scott Boras told Barry Bloom of MLB.com that he intends to complete a deal for the powerful 27-year-old before March.
"Certainly we're going to have him signed well in advance of Spring Training," Boras said. "I can't give you the exact date. These things take some time. That's why we have January and early February. Spring Training doesn't start until late February."
- There are more teams involved than the ones that have been reported and most of the unnamed teams are from the National League, a source close to the situation told Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Seattle. At present, it appears that the Mariners are lying in the weeds and aren't at the front of the pack.
- The Blue Jays are not a serious suitor for Fielder, multiple people in the industry told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Fielder's price and years would need to come way down for Toronto to get involved.
- The Brewers invited Fielder back on a one-year contract that would have set him up for a mega-deal with the Dodgers next winter, once the team has a new owner in place, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times tweets. However, Boras showed no interest in the Brewers' proposal. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt says he's "not going to talk about" Fielder, Shaikin tweets.
- The Dodgers aren’t currently involved in the Fielder sweepstakes, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets.
- There are strong indications that the Marlins aren’t pursuing Fielder aggressively, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports. Boras touched base with owners including Jeffrey Loria of the Marlins yesterday, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reported.
- The Nationals are “patiently and aggressively” pursuing Fielder, Kilgore reported.
- Exchanging information with Fielder’s suitors takes time because “he's going to be there a long time, wherever he's going,” Boras told Bloom.
The Marlins are prepared to make a strong run for Yoenis Cespedes once he gains his Dominican residency and Major League Baseball declares him a free agent, Marlins president David Samson said in his weekly appearance on 790 The Ticket (transcribed by Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel).
“[The club's pursuit will be] aggressive right to the point of stupidity, but not quite there,” Samson said. “We think he’s a perfect fit for us, but it has to be sane. [We've been] expressing interest, going to visit, making it very clear to his representatives and to him and his family that we think he should not be anywhere other than Miami. As a Cuban and someone in the DR, it makes perfect sense. We have a perfect position for him to play. It would be great."
Samson went on to say that the club is prepared for the sizable signing bonus and contract that Cespedes will likely command. However, Miami will back off if another team looks to "make a bigger splash or get irrational."
Rodriguez also writes that the club has not begun pursuing Prince Fielder, according to a source who has spoken with the front office. Earlier today we learned that there are strong indications that the Marlins aren't pursuing the slugger aggressively.
Prince Fielder remains available, but as MLB.com's Tom Singer shows, most elite free agents sign considerably earlier on in the offseason. In fact, there's a chance Fielder will sign the latest megadeal in baseball history. Here are the latest rumors on Fielder, as we await concrete news of his next destination...
- The Nationals are “patiently and aggressively” pursuing Fielder, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. Nationals principal owners Ted and Mark Lerner met with agent Scott Boras at the owners’ meetings this evening, according to Kilgore. Boras touched base with other owners, including Jeffrey Loria of the Marlins.
- MLB.com’s Bill Ladson hears that there’s a 99% chance that the Nationals will not sign Fielder.
- Someone with knowledge of the Rangers’ finances doubts they’d invest in Yu Darvish and Fielder, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Morosi notes that the Nationals are viewed as the favorites for Fielder.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com suggests Fielder may not sign until the Rangers finish negotiating with Darvish next week (Twitter link). Heyman notes that the Rangers are a “team of interest” when it comes to Fielder.