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)
Breathe deep. Stay strong. Ready? So that report about sources saying the Nationals were 99% sure they weren't going to sign Prince Fielder? Bunk. At least according to the sources that are talking to Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore, who writes tonight that the Nats are still alive and well in the market for the "PF Flyer" [cringes] as super agent Scott Boras dubbed the 27-year-old free agent first baseman earlier this winter in another report on the chatter by the WaPost Nats beat writer.
MLB.com's Bill Ladson quoted a source this afternoon who told him, "There is a '99 percent' chance that the Nationals will not sign free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder," though even that source, "indicated" interest on Washington's behalf with Mr. Ladson writing, "Fielder's price must come down in order for the team to think about acquiring his services."
Washington's clearly thought about about it already, right?
In a video at the Nats' official site accompanying the MLB.com report, MLB and CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman tells host Paul Severino he's spoken to executives who believe Fielder will get $200 million dollars from "somebody." "I think the Washington Nationals are deep in the mix," Mr. Heyman says, "There's no question about that in my mind. I think the Mariners are in there, they definitely are interested. I think the Marlins are playing possum a little bit. I still think some Marlins people want him. The Rangers are interested, of course they're talking to Yu Darvish, I'm not sure that they can get both guys." Mr. Heyman also mentions the Brewers as a possibility, but names no team a frontrunner.
Earlier this afternoon the CBSSports.com baseball writer (@JonHeymanCBS) wrote on Twitter that he too thought Texas was a possible destination for Fielder if the Rangers' negotiations with Yu Darvish don't end with a contract. "[The] long-awaited Fieder deal may wait 'til after Rangers/Darvish are done negotiating," Mr. Heyman wrote.
FOXSports.com's Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) wrote Wednesday that a, "Source with knowledge of Rangers finances doubts they invest in Yu Darvish AND Prince Fielder. Nats still viewed as favorite for Prince."
The report by Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore says the Nationals are still interested in Fielder, they have been, "'patiently and aggressively' pursuing Fielder," all along and, "The Nationals’ push for Fielder continued when Nationals principal owners Ted and Mark Lerner met with Scott Boras, Fielder’s high-profile agent, at the owners’ meetings in Arizona this evening..." That's two confirmed sit downs between interested parties, with MLB.com's Bill Ladson (among others like Baltimore Sun writer Dan Connolly and @CelebrityQandA) speculating that Fielder was in the D.C./Baltimore area when the agent and his client were reported to have visited interested MLB franchises to visit with owners several weeks back.
And now two sources are confirming that tonight's sit down took place with ESPN and MLBNetworkRadio host (and former Nats' GM) Jim Bowden tweeting (@JimBowdenESPNXM) that both, "Ted and Mark Lerner [met] with Scott Boras regarding Prince Fielder tonight at the Camelback resort in Scottsdale AZ. still in on Fielder." In Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore's report, he says several teams met with Boras tonight at the owners' meetings. The Nationals were apparently one of the teams, though.
• Will the Washington Nationals go to eight years? Scott Boras tried to sell folks on the idea of a long-term deal for the 27-year-old slugger Prince Fielder earlier this winter, by explaining in an MLB Network Radio interview that his client, (who's set to leave Milwaukee with a .282/.390/.540 career slash and a 162-game average of 32 doubles, 37 HR's and 106 RBI's after the first baseman's 5.5 fWAR campaign in 2011, which was the second-highest of his career behind only 2009's +6.4 fWAR season) provides a unique opportunity for one lucky team:
"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. 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."
• More rumors to follow...for sure...