Texas Rangers' executives on Friday continued to say Prince Fielder and Scott Boras would have to be willing to get creative to work out a deal to bring the 27-year-old free agent to the AL West. While the Rangers explored possibilities, the team some see as the second-most likely destination for the 5'11, 275 lb first baseman (the Washington Nationals) signed their own backup first base option and presumptive starting left fielder (Michael Morse) to what's reportedly a 2-year/$10.5M dollar extension that buys out the final two arbitration-eligible seasons which remained before the 29-going-on-30-year-old IF/OF becomes a free agent following the 2013 campaign.
Morse took over at first and excelled there when Adam LaRoche went down with a torn labrum and rotator cuff damage in his shoulder last season. LaRoche is expected to be 100% by Spring Training. The Nats signed Mark DeRosa as another option at first. Chris Marrero's eventually coming back from a hamstring injury, and Davey Johnson at least said it was time to see what he can do in the majors. The Nationals don't "need" need Prince Fielder. The Rangers?
They have 27-year-old '07 17th Round pick Mitch Moreland. "We have a lot of confidence in Mitch Moreland," Rangers' GM Jon Daniels said Thursday night in an MLB Network Radio interview with Casey Stern and Jim Bowden, "I think if you look at Mitch's first 400-450 at bats before he hurt his wrist, in the big leagues he was very productive. But again, we're not denying what Prince brings to the table." Moreland underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right wrist at the end of November after struggling with a wrist injury throughout the second half of the season. Rangers' co-owner Bob Simpson offered his own opinion on the Fielder chatter on Friday, telling Dallas Morning News' writer Brad Townsend, in an article entitled, "Rangers co-owner Bob Simpson would rather re-sign Josh Hamilton than sign Prince Fielder", that the free agent first baseman might not be a fit in Texas:
"'I think he's, given our set of cards, too pricey,' Simpson said. 'And if that were to change, I guess they would look at that harder. But right now I think he's priced himself out of what we could do.'"
Besides, the co-owner says in the Dallas Morning News' article, there are other Rangers he'd like to see re-signed, "'And frankly, my personal preference at this moment would be to re-sign [Josh Hamilton] instead of helping Fielder. We (the ownership group) could all debate that.'" Mr. Simpson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram writer Jeff Wilson wrote Friday in an article entitled, "Rangers owner Bob Simpson on club's finances, Prince Fielder", just like every other Rangers' executive who's talked about the free agent first baseman, left the door open for the possibility of a deal, explaining that, "'If they come around to something we can do, we'll take a look at it.'"
ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett transcribed quotes from Rangers' president Nolan Ryan's appearance on 103.3 FM in Dallas' Galloway and Company on Friday, in which the Hall of Fame pitcher told the hosts that though there was obvious interest in Fielder in Texas, "'With what we did yesterday and the position that Scott Boras is taking, it’s pretty hard to think that would develop.'" Ryan, of course, then turns around and says that sometimes, "'... when you think you’re out of something, you get up the next day and find out opportunities exist.'"
SI.com's Tom Verducci weighed Fielder's options for him on Friday in an article entitled, "Rangers, Nationals have much to offer Fielder beyond cash", in which he wrote that barring a late entry into the bidding he too thought, "Fielder's best options look like Texas and Washington." The SI.com writer suspects that Washington can probably give the soon-to-be-former Milwaukee Brewer a longer deal, and argues that the Nationals could use a third marquee star who'd team with Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper to turn the Nats into, "... not just an instant contender but also a meaningful draw."
It took Fielder four seasons in Milwaukee to get the Brewers back into the postseason for the first time since 1982. Milwaukee lost in the NLDS in 2008, and two years later the slugging first baseman helped get them back there again for the second time in four seasons, but in spite of their all-out effort to win while they had Fielder, the Brewers lost to the Cardinals in six games in the NLCS and most-likely lost their '02 1st Round pick to free agency. Fielder's choice, it appears, is trying to help the Nationals get to the postseason for the first time in the relocated franchise's history in D.C., and it would be the first time a team in the nation's capital made a postseason appearance since 1933, or going to Texas and seeing if the third time's the charm for the two-time defending ALCS champs, and former Washington Senators, who've lost in the World Series in each of the past two seasons...