Is Fielder headed to the Nats?


BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

First baseman Prince Fielder is still somehow on the free agent market, but the Washington Nationals are making a serious push at the 30-year-old slugger. Photo by: Steve Paluch/Flickr

Only one big name still stands after players like Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes and C.J. Wilson were plucked off the Major League Baseball free agent market for big bucks.
And that big name comes with perhaps the biggest body and burliest beards in baseball. Yes, for some reason, Prince Fielder hasn’t found a team yet — despite easily being the second-best hitter on the market this winter. There’s been rumors about the Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners and even the Texas Rangers trying to woo the 275-pound first baseman. But this week the Washington Nationals, an unusual suitor, came out as the top team in pursuit of Fielder.
So why did it take so long for one squad to step up as frontrunners for a 30-year-old who hit .299 with 38 home runs and 120 RBIs last season? Probably because Fielder’s agent is the dubious Scott Boras. It also likely had something to do with the amount of zeros in Pujols’ ground-breaking contract. And if you’re a team dealing with those two factors, deals aren’t going to happen fast.

Boras has made things tough by changing his mind at least a handful of times, trying to get what’s best for Fielder. At first, the pair thought it would be an Pujols-like deal. Interested teams didn’t. Then, the duo wanted a deal slightly less than Pujols’ hefty $240 million, 10-year contract — so somewhere in the $200 million range. Clubs also didn’t see eye-to-eye on that idea. So Boras thought Fielder could land a shorter contract, but still make the big bucks. That’s about where prospective negotiations are at now, but the asking price for Prince may still be too high, for some teams.

Enter the Washington Nationals.

The Nats have the dough to fork out to Fielder. And whatever the deal may end up being, it will be very tempting for Fielder, but I think he and Boras are just looking for a quick pay day. Boras has disregarded a short-term deal, but rumors have surfaced that Fielder would take a three to four year deal (for about $20 million per season). The Nats would have a great player — just not for very long and I think that’s the way Fielder wants it.
The ultimate goal for team Fielder is to stay in Washington, get paid and then move on when more attractive, more storied teams have more money to spend. As a fan you have to hate it, but sadly, moves like this are what baseball is all about.

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