Wire Taps: Washington Nationals, Prince Fielder Rumors Day 245.

Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo wrote Sunday in his weekly "Baseball Notes" column that the big question in the Prince Fielder negotiations was, "Who will give Fielder seven years?" Mr. Cafardo thought it was the Nationals and Rangers leading the field of candidates with the Brewers and Cubs interested if a longer-term deal doesn't exist out there. This morning more rumors of the Baltimore Orioles' interest surfaced. Seattle Mariners' GM Jack Zduriencik, "declined to answer," a question about whether or not the M's have had contact with Fielder's agent, Scott Boras according to Seattle Times' writer Larry Stone. MLB.com's Bill Ladson, (whose sources had previously said, in an article entitled, "Nats still in running to land free-agent Fielder", that the Nats won't go to 10 years like Scott Boras had hoped, but, "... want to give Fielder a six- or seven-year deal,") today wrote, in an article entitled, "Nats in running for Prince, but race far from over", that, "... the Nationals don't want to go more than five or six years." Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore's official prediction (for whichever team signs him, and no, no one has yet) is that Fielder will get a 7-year/$170 million dollar deal.

CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS), who wrote earlier this evening that the, "#rangers love #prince, and vice versa. but I believe texas brass that it isn't that likely to win derby after Yu. In, but not favorite." Later tonight, the writer expressed surprise on the Twitter machine, writing that he found it, "funny how some teams are going to great lengths to pretend they aren't interested in Prince Fielder."

MLB.com's Joe Frisaro wrote this afternoon, in a Q&A with fans entitled, "Inbox: Why not go after Fielder", that it's clear to him from what he's been told, that though the Marlins were in on Albert Pujols, and they remain interested in Yoenis Cespedes, they're unlikely to get involved in the Fielder market.

MLB Network Radio host Jim Bowden, who's been updating the status of the Prince Fielder market each afternoon on his show "Inside Pitch" with Casey Stern, said today that he didn't buy the fact that Baltimore was a serious suitor for the 5'11'', 275 lb, 27-year-old, soon-to-be-former Brewers' slugger's services. The former Nats' GM, who oversaw the team when the Nationals made a run at Mark Teixeira back in 2009, compared the O's involvement now to what it was then. "I think it's there for leverage," Bowden said, though he didn't think it would work on the Nats, "I think it's there because Scott Boras always allows clubs to have due process, but knowing Prince the way I know Prince, I can't see him ending up in Baltimore. I don't think he wants to spend the next seven or eight years of his life, half of them, not contending."

"At the end of the day," the former MLB executive continued, "I still consider the Washington Nationals as the front runner to get Prince Fielder. I do think there are other teams like the Rangers that could still get involved in this thing at the end, but that's how I see it. I see Washington and Fielder getting a deal done, I wouldn't be surprised if it was done by Friday of this week, but there's no deal as of this moment." Asked why the Nats should sign Fielder, Bowden told his co-host it was about, "... the opportunity to have a World Championship for [Nationals' owner] Ted Lerner." Earlier this winter, other writers have hinted at the same motivation for the Nats' pursuit of Fielder.

New York Post writer Joel Sherman in an October 14, 2011 article entitled, "If Sabathia opts out of contract, Yankees will have competition", wrote that, "The Nats believe they are on the verge of being a winner and can become a big-market team if they are regular contenders. Plus the same situation that instigated the [Jayson] Werth signing -- an aging owner, Ted Lerner, who wants results now and an ambitious son, Mark, who wants to put his stamp on the team, remain." The New York Post writer was talking about the team possibly pursuing CC Sabathia if he had become avaiable, but even then he reported that from what he was hearing, "... there is an expectation that Washington's big money this offseason is targeted toward Prince Fielder."

Later on in Bowden's MLB Network Radio show this afternoon, the former Nationals' general manager said he thought D.C. GM Mike Rizzo and the Nats' front office had played this pefectly thus far. "I give a lot of credit to the Lerner family and Mike Rizzo for grinding this out," the former Nats' executive said. "I think they're doing the right thing and trying to get the right deal, not only for Prince Fielder and the club but long-term. You want to keep competing, so you want to make sure you get a deal that you can live with." Bowden pointed to the late entry by the Angels in the Albert Pujols market as he warned that someone else can always enter the game late, but for another day he said he thought Washington was the likeliest destination.

MLB.com's Bill Ladson wrote tonight that the Nationals are still alive, "... but they are not close to finalizing a deal with the free-agent first baseman." Maybe tomorrow...

• Oh, and in an update (with actual sort of news as opposed to all these rumors) with Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore, Nationals' skipper Davey Johnson confirmed my suspicions about his plans for 23-year-old infielder Stephen Lombardozzi, with the WaPost Nats beat writer reporting that the 68-year-old manager told him Lombardozzi, "... 'has the inside track' on the reserve middle infield role," on the 2012 Nats' roster. Spring Training will, of course, decide things one way or another, but the Nationals' manager apparently has high hopes for the young infielder.

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