WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 17: Prince Fielder #28 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits to take batting practice before the start of their game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 17, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Though 27-year-old free agent first baseman Prince Fielder's agent Scott Boras told FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal recently, as reported in an article entitled, "Boras taking his time with Fielder deal", that he and his 5'11'', 275 lb HR-hitting, high-OBP client had traveled around the country (and possibly out of it I suppose?) to meet , "... personally with several owners," Mr. Boras, "... declined to identify those owners or say how many such meetings have taken place," according to the FOXSports.com reporter. The process of meeting with the individual teams and finding a home for the soon-to-be-former Milwaukee Brewers' slugger was taking longer than expected, as Fielder's agent explained, because, "... these are ownership decisions. I’ve got to sit down with owners. There are a lot of them interested in Prince. That’s time-consuming. Respectfully, you have to sit down and meet with these people. You’ve got to go through the process."
Did Fielder and Boras go through that process with the Washington Nationals' owners?
Mr. Boras argued in the article that in addition to his contributions on the field, Fielder was an attraction that resulted in increased attendance in Milwaukee over his time with the Brewers, increased tv revenues and increased interest on the part of other homegrown players who wanted to remain a part of what they built and free agents who wanted to become part of a team led by Fielder. "... (A player like Fielder) gets you the (local) TV contract, he gets you a higher franchise value, your attendance goes up," Mr. Boras told FOXSports.com's Mr. Rosenthal, "These players pay for themselves. They make you a lot of money. Owners understand that. They reach out to you." Did the Washington Nationals' owners reach out to Boras and express interest in Fielder?
Baltimore Sun writer Dan Connolly, first on Twitter (@DanConnollySun) and then in a follow-up article tonight entitled, "Boras and Fielder did not meet with Angelos on free agent tour", reported that though Fielder and his agent did not meet with Orioles' owner Peter Angelos on their recent trip, "... one industry source confirmed that Boras and Fielder were in the 'Baltimore-Washington area,' meaning they likely spoke with representatives of the Lerner family, principal owners of the Washington Nationals."
CBSSports.com writer Jon Heyman reported on Thursday in an article entitled, "Nats player: We are 'shooting for' Prince", that he had spoken to an unidentified Nationals player who told him Washington was one of the teams trying to sign Fielder. "We're in the market. We're still shooting for him,'" Mr. Heyman quoted the player saying, while also noting that he understood some might question, "... the validity of a player as a source," and admitting that it was unclear what teams Boras and Fielder had visited during their tour of MLB cities.
D.C. GM Mike Rizzo said last week, "That is correct," when asked if Adam LaRoche was expected to play first for Washington next season, and in responding to a question about the Nats' plans at first base for 2012 during a recent MLB Network Radio interview, the Nats' general manager told host Mike Ferrin that the Nationals had, "... more or less decided that Adam [LaRoche] is going to be our first baseman, unless something extraordinary, out of the ordinary happened that's how we're going to go to Spring Training."
Of course, the Nats could have met with Fielder and decided they weren't going to pursue him for one reason or another and that's why they're now saying that they're going with LaRoche at first this season. But publically at least, neither the Nationals or any of the other teams who hosted the free agent and his agent are admitting to having met with the big middle-of-the-order bat. Maybe they're just waiting to see if something extraordinary happens?