PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 04: Prince Fielder #28 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks on from first base in the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game Three of the National League Division Series at Chase Field on October 4, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
• In case you don't spend your weekends in January glued to Twitterfeeds or the Facebook waiting for updates, here's a quick review of the rumors revolving around Prince Fielder and the Washington Nationals from the past three days...
The latest significant update in the "Where will Prince Fielder sign?" saga (which many have hoped could finally resolve itself this week after Yu Darvish does or doesn't sign with Texas on Wednesday the 18th) came this past Friday night when USA Today baseball writer Bob Nightengale reported that the 27-year-old slugger was in the Lone Star state visiting with the Rangers' brass in the lobby of what was later revealed, by Fort Worth Star-Telegram writer Jeff Wilson in an article Friday night entitled, "Rangers test water by talking to Prince Fielder", to be the, "Four Seasons Resort in Las Colinas." Former Nats' GM Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenESPNXM) sort-of-updated the story Sunday night by writing on Twitter that the reason what was supposed to be a "secret" meeting got out in the press was that, "The confidential [meeting at] Four Seasons was coincindentally where Joel Hanrahan was getting married." (ed. note - "Congrats, Joel!")
But more interesting than the details of how the meeting became public knowledge were the former Nationals' general manager's tweeted comments about how the, "Rangers meeting with Fielder @ the Four Seasons Hotel went extremely well," and his opinion that it's not a one or the other type of thing with Fielder and Yu Darvish as many had assumed, "they can afford to sign both Darvish and Fielder if they choose," Mr. Bowden wrote Sunday. Those tired of waiting for Prince to sign have been hoping the Rangers' decision either way on Darvish could eliminate or open up the one logical AL option for a long-term deal for the 5'11'', 275lb left-handed hitting and throwing first baseman or force him to decide between a smaller deal in Toronto, a big offer from a rebuilding team in Seattle, a less-than-ideal but still substantial offer from Washington's on-the-cusp-of-something, Scott-Boras-friendly franchise or an offer from an as-yet-unidentified mystery team.
In his weekly "Sunday Baseball Notes" column, Boston Globe baseball writer Nick Cafardo wrote that the, "Marlins, Nationals, and Rangers remain possibilities," for Fielder. Mr. Cafardo says the O's and M's don't have the funds to lure Fielder to their teams, and, "Most believe the Nationals make the most sense, but they also need more pitching and a center fielder." There's no word on whether or not Washington is on the list of teams that Fielder will visit (or if their visit last week in Arizona was part of Round 2 of the meetings) on what CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) wrote late on Friday night was another tour of interested MLB teams Fielder and his agent Scott Boras were embarking upon.
ESPN.com's Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) wrote Friday night on Twitter that, "One exec today believes WAS, TEX, CHC may ultimately get this Fielder contract structure: 6 years, opt-out after 3 years, 22-24m a year." MLB.com's Bill Ladson's sources, as he reported Saturday in an article entitled, "Nats still in running to land free-agent Fielder", were telling him the Nationals are still in the mix, still unwilling to go to 10 years, but now willing to include a no-trade clause in a six or seven-year deal.
Fielder's meeting with the Rangers on Friday was described as being a, "... 'very preliminary' step in potential contract negotiations," as Dallas Morning News' writer Evan P. Grant wrote Saturday in an article entitled, "Nolan Ryan calls meeting with Prince Fielder very preliminary", which quoted Texas' team president Nolan Ryan offering that description of the sitdown with the free agent first baseman. Members of Texas' front office met with super agent Scott Boras and Fielder after, "Boras requested Friday's meeting with the Rangers," according to another Dallas Morning News' blog post entitled, "Sources: Rangers met with Prince Fielder, agent Scott Boras on Friday."
The deadline for Yu Darvish to sign is Wednesday (1/18). Those hoping that would be the end of all the rumors have just three days to wait now...though it's not guaranteed that a decision is coming any time soon...Will the Rangers shock the world and add a 25-year-old right-hander in Darvish and the 27-year-old Fielder to avoid falling behind and allowing a mineshaft gap in the arms race with their AL West rivals in Anaheim. Can the Nationals owners be convinced to invest in a long-term deal with another Boras client this winter after signing Jayson Werth long-term in 2010? When will the identity of the mystery team be revealed? When will this all end?
MASNSports.com's Phil Wood wrote Sunday in an article entitled, "A weighty question", that his sources, "... indicate that Fielder himself believes he's a good fit with Washington." Do the Lerners and D.C. GM Mike Rizzo agree?