Following the flurry of moves that went down last evening, it may have been easy to forget, at least momentarily, that Prince Fielder remains unsigned. We’re through the second week of January, and Fielder has still yet to be plucked from the market. Yesterday’s batch of Fielder-related rumors indicate that the Cubs and Rangers could still be in the mix for the Prince, while others continue to believe the Nationals will ultimately end up landing the slugger.
ESPN’s Buster Olney was told by an unnamed executive that the Nationals, Rangers and Cubs all have a chance of landing Fielder under the following contract structure; a six-year deal worth $22-24 million annually that includes an opt-out clause after three years.
It had been rumored that Boras and Fielder were seeking such a clause, and it’s more or less a given that it primarily benefits the player. Yes, it could help clubs avoid the ‘bad part’ of an aging player’s contract, but you have to look no further than the C.C. Sabathia situation that took place this winter to see the opt-out clause represents a strong bargaining chip for the player and agent.
There was more news regarding the Rangers and Fielder, as Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reported that Texas’ pursuit of the slugger may come down to whether they think it wiser to lock Prince or Josh Hamilton up with a long-term deal.
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth-Star Telegram reported that the Rangers did meet with Fielder yesterday, though a source told Wilson that Prince appears to be more of a plan-B in case Texas is unable to sign Yu Darvish. However, Ben-Nicholson Smith of MLBTR.com believes Fielder and Darvish may not be mutually exclusive.
The Cubs remain in the mix for Prince, at least rumor-wise, as Jayson Stark said Chicago’s not totally out of the Fielder sweepstakes. Still, Stark hears from another unknown executive that he’s confident Fielder will still ultimately end up with the Nationals.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that Fielder is set to embark on another team tour over the next few days. Fielder and his agent Scott Boras are expected to sit down with several clubs as negotiations continue.
You can check out all of the available free agents by position below.