Sunday, October 30, 2011

Agent: Prince Fielder

As of today, Prince Fielder is a free agent. Mark Attanasio and Doug Melvin will be meeting in L.A. in the next few weeks to discuss a contract they can offer Fielder to somehow keep him in Milwaukee for next season. Now, assuming we don't offer him something to stay, here are the Top 10 teams and a few wild card teams that will most likely be bidding for Prince this offseason.

10. Baltimore Orioles
Not many people know exactly what the intentions of the Orioles are at this point. They spent a lot of money that season by acquiring Vladamir Guerrero and Derrick Lee and signing J.J. Hardy to a long term deal. They are in a transition of General Managers as well so the direction of the team is a big question mark. In a tough division like the one they are in, the AL East, you would think that they would want a guy like Fielder to contend. It will all come down to what they can offer him if they make a run for him.

9. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners are believed to be considering Fielder. Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik drafted Fielder with the Brewers, but the Mariners already have switch-hitting first baseman Justin Smoak. The Mariners are in a rebuilding stage, so don't count them out for at least making an offer for Fielder. The Mariners would love to have a big bat and a veteran like Fielder in the middle of their lack luster line-up. I don't see Prince going there, though. Prince wants to win.

8. Los Angeles Angels
The Angels lack a big bat that Fielder offers, and even though they do have Kendry Morales and Mark Trumbo at 1B, the downside of Fielder coming to town is the laundry list of DH options the Angels have too. The Angels have the money to offer, but I don't think they have a spot for Fielder with the talent that they already have. Angels will trade for pitching without a doubt if they acquire Prince, as they would no longer need both Morales and Trumbo. Decision, decisions.

7. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers would be much higher on this list if Frank McCourt didn't turn the franchise into a disaster. But they still can't be ignored to at least make an offer. It all comes down to money in the end for the Dodgers. They need a first baseman, and with a line up that already consists of Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, adding Fielder to it could potentially do some damage in the National League. Its amazing that Fielder once wanted to raid the Dodger's locker room and throw bombs, and now he could potentially launch bombs in Dodger Stadium.

6. Texas Rangers
Coming off their second straight season of going to the World Series but walking out empty handed, the Rangers have to figure out what the missing link is to take them to the next step and win a championship. Quite frankly, it is not the offense by any means. The Rangers need to focus on locking up C.J. Wilson before they make a bid for another bat to add to their squad of lethal bats. Even though the Ranger's trio of Moreland/Young/Napoli worked perfectly fine throughout the season, you can't count Texas out in the Prince sweepstakes.

5. Washington Nationals
Let's get this crystal clear. The Nationals would love to have Fielder on their team. They have yet to say they are committed to Adam LaRouche and Michael Morse has every right to argue he should be the starting first baseman after the season to had last year. The reason why the Nationals would shy away from a deal with Fielder, is because of the simple fact that Prince has Boras. Boras is not a popular guy in Washington, because they feel they were ripped off with the lackluster performance of Jayson Werth. The Nationals signed Werth to a 7 year, 126 million dollar contract, identical to another wasted contract that is listed below for the Blue Jays. Washington doesn't want to waste more money on a guy who potentially could have weight issues and leg injuries in the making. It's possible that Nationals will pursue, but in the end I say they pass.

4. San Fransisco Giants
It needs to be stressed that the Giants need a starting first baseman. They do not want Brandon Belt as their starter. Pablo Sandoval could easily be bumped to third base, so that solves that little issue. The Giants have every other position filled. Just slight upgrades needed in the infield and outfield and they would be set. They have one of the best pitching staffs, when healthy, in the league. The Giants could potentially have their next south-paw to launch some bombs into McCovey Cove.

3. Toronto Blue Jays
This is my, along with a lot of people's, sleeper pick as far as where Fielder is going. There is sweat on the brow of every form of management who would potentially offer Fielder a deal, however, because of the last time they offered out a huge contract was a huge bust (Vernon Wells 7 year, 126 mil). It seems as though the Blue Jays are at a point were in the next few seasons they will be contenders in the AL East. Fielder is definitely a guy who can get them into the postseason, outlasting teams like Boston and New York.

2. Chicago Cubs
They have the money for sure. Adding Theo Epstein in the mix makes talks of Prince taking the trip down I-94 even more realistic. Carlos Pena had an awful year, and he if likely to play elsewhere in 2012. Epstein noted that he wants to bring in the right people for the job. Fielder blasting homeruns in Wrigley Field for 81 games a year must make Chicago fans drool. Fielder wouldn't be the only acquisition the Cubs would be seeking this offseason, either. With C.C. Sabathia opting out of his option with New York, Epstein will be looking to bring him in as well. Look for big changes to come for Chicago. They mean business. 

1. Miami Marlins
The Marlins should have Prince Fielder as their number one target this offseason. They are bringing in new manager Ozzie Guillen for their inaugural year in their new stadium with a brand new name of Miami, rather then previous "Florida". All they need is a face for the franchise to lead them to the teams 3rd World Series. They definitely have the money available to compete for Prince. They could easily move Gaby Sanchez to third base to make room for Fielder in the lineup which already consists of Mike Stanton, Hanley Ramirez, Logan Morrison, Omar Infante, John Buck, Emilio Bonifacio, and Gaby Sanchez. The only other thing the Marlins need to focus on this offseason is getting a closer and maybe one more starting pitcher, and they are set. Look out, people. Marlins are for real.

Two teams that would have a shot at Fielder could be the St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies. The only way St. Louis has a shot is if for whatever reason the Cardinals don't re-sign Albert Pujols. The only way the Phillies would have a shot at Prince is if Ryan Howard has complications with his Achilles tendon. Both very unlikely situations, but it's worth mentioning. 

The kicker in all of this will be Scott Boras. It's all on what he thinks his client deserves. It will also be based on what Boras views as an acceptable contending team. I truly wish Fielder the best, I hope he gets the best deal possible with whoever that may be. The market is not typically "good" for a free agent first baseman this year, since the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies, who have the most money every year to spend, all have first basemen locked up for long terms. Who knows, Prince might not want to pack his bags just yet. I could only hope he stays in Milwaukee, but I'm a realist.

Until next time, Beer, Brats, and Championships.

-Andrew Vrchota @TheBIGVrchota & @WISportsBlog

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