ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 14: Prince Fielder #28 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks on against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Five of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium on October 14, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Super agent Scott Boras didn't want to talk about any particular negotiations between his client, 27-year-old first baseman Prince Fielder, and any particular team during an appearance on MLB Network Radio this afternoon, but he did essentially pitch the free agent to any interested franchises. The Brewers' '02 1st Round pick finished his seven-year career with Milwaukee with a .282/.390/.540 career slash and a 162-game average of 32 doubles, 37 HR's and 106 RBI's. Fielder's 5.5 WAR in 2011 was the second-highest of his career behind only 2009's +6.4 WAR. It's not difficult to sell teams on the slugger, but it's Scott Boras' job to get Fielder the best possible deal. According to reports yesterday by FOXSports.com reporter Ken Rosenthal and his colleague Jon Morosi the Nationals are one of several teams that have expressed interest in Fielder with Mr. Morosi identifying the Nats, Cubs, Rangers and Mariners as potential suitors. Here's what those teams are likely hearing from Boras when they inquire about Fielder:
Scott Boras: "When you have franchise-changing players at a young age, this opportunity for both ownership and for general managers is rare. I would have to say the next potential 27-year-old slugger that will be on the market might be [the Marlins' Mike] Stanton five years from now..."
Scott Boras: "To have someone at that age, that young, with that kind of ability...And you also have to remember too, that these players are so valuable, because normally when you're signing a 29 or 30-year-old free agent, even by management standards, their idea of premium is to that 36-year-old, or 35-year-old level, you're getting 5-6 years of an eight-year deal.
"When you have this 27-year-old player who has performed at, frankly, [Albert] Pujols' levels, from the ages of 22-26, he actually has more HR's than Pujols, but when you have someone performing at that level and is that young, we just don't see them very often. So the idea of clubs catering to their board and saying, 'We have an opportunity to put a fixture in our organization that we won't have an opportunity to gain unless we develop it internally, and/or there is a trade,' and I can't recall other than [Mark] McGwire the last time a prominent slugger was traded at a young age. So you're really looking at a rare opportunity for teams.
"I think that these are ownership decisions. There are certainly owners who come out and meet with us and talk to us about their franchise and go through things. We're rather methodical about this. The player wants to hear as much information as he can and certainly Prince wants to make a good decision for he and his family.
"So the idea of it is, it's not the matter of how many teams, it's obvious that there's a lot of teams that when they sign these players it could make a dramatic difference. In Milwaukee, they're drawing three million fans. There's a reason for that. And I think the dynamic of that is something the owners look to and they understand that they can get a player in their system for a long time that is a core. So, it's really something I think that owners have to evaluate as they go through it. Then they instruct their general managers, and a lot of times they like to put other pieces together before they make that decision."
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal wrote yesterday that his source said though Fielder is Washington's "primary" target, the Nats', "Talks with Fielder hit a significant roadblock on Monday." No details as to what caused said roadblock unfortunately. The rumored asking price is expected to be somewhere around 8-years/$200 million. If the Nationals believe Fielder is the player that Boras is selling, Adam LaRoche's one-year deal probably wouldn't be much of an impediment. The injury to young first base prospect Chris Marrero wouldn't likely affect such a decision either way. Will the Nats give out that big a deal a year after giving Jayson Werth 7-years/$126M?
Do you want to give Fielder eight years? Is it fair to judge the player based on his father's career? Cecil hit anywhere from 28 to 51 HR's over a seven-year stretch from 1990-96 when he was 26-to-32 years old, but he was out of the game by 34. Prince, statistically, is a better hitter than his father was, with similar patience and power. The team that signs Prince might regret those last few years, but as his agent said, "... normally when you're signing a 29 or 30-year-old free agent, even by management standards, their idea of premium is to that 36-year-old, or 35-year-old level, you're getting 5-6 years of an eight-year deal." Are the Nats willing to make the same gamble they did with Werth with Fielder?