MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 10: Prince Fielder #28 of the Milwaukee Brewers reacts after he hit a double in the bottom of the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Two of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 10, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
MLB.com's Bill Ladson's (@washingnats) report this afternoon, in an article entitled, "Nats meet with Boras, in running to sign Prince", prompted ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) to contact Scott Boras, agent for the 27-year-old, 5'11'', 275 lb slugger Prince Fielder, to see if he could confirm that a recent trip to the DC/Baltimore area had in fact included a meeting with the Lerners, owners of the Washington Nationals. "Scott Boras home in California today, declined comment on @washingnats report that he & Prince met w/ the Lerners in D.C.," Mr. Crasnick wrote. Boras told him, Mr. Crasnick added, that, "'The speculation is wide & varied. I have told all owners I would not comment on who we meet with regarding these things.'"
MLB.com's Mr. Ladson's article quoted a baseball source who said, "... ownership recently visited with Fielder's agent, Scott Boras, in the nation's capital," after a recent article by Baltimore Sun writer Dan Connolly had speculated that a source's report about the agent and player visiting the DC/Washington area but not meeting with the Orioles led him to believe they must have met with representatives from the Nats. MASNSports.com's Phil Wood too wrote Monday in an article entitled, "I wouldn't be surprised ...", that he knew, "... that Fielder and agent Scott Boras met with Rizzo and Lerner on their recent tour."
All of this followed up on a report by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer Tom Haudricourt, who wrote Monday, in an article entitled, "Nationals a favorite for Fielder", that, "An MLB official told me over the weekend that word is spreading in the industry that the Washington Nationals have emerged as a favorite to sign free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder."
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal's reported last week in an article entitled, "Boras taking his time with Fielder deal", that Fielder's agent was traveling the country meeting with owners to discuss signing the free agent, though he declined to say which teams he'd met with. Boras and Fielder were meeting with owners, he 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."
MLB.com's Mr. Ladson's source too tells him in the article that, "... Nationals ownership will make the final decision on whether the club signs Fielder. It's not known how many years or how much money Washington is willing to give Fielder." Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin told MLB Network Radio hosts Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy this afternoon that he didn't think the owners would do so without Rizzo's input.
"I think he would be in the loop," the WaPost writer said, "I don't think Ted Lerner's going to cut out his GM from this discussion, especially when a guy like Mike Rizzo has such a strong relationship with Scott Boras. I don't mean to suggest that Rizzo's not involved at all, but Boras goes where the money is. It's like the bank robber, they ask him, 'Why do you rob banks?' well, 'That's where the money is!' That's how Scott [Boras] operates."
As Boras himself explained in a pre-Winter Meetings MLB Network Radio interview, a decision this big is, "... really something I think that owners have to evaluate as they go through it. Then they instruct their general managers, and a lot of times they like to put other pieces together before they make that decision." The reports of the meeting between the Nats' brass, Fielder and Boras, which apparently originated on December 19th with a tweet by (@CelebrityQandA) which read, "*ALERT* Baseball Superstar Prince Fielder getting a meal at Georgetown's Cafe Milano last night - will he sign with the #Nationals #DMV...", have now been confirmed by multiple sources. Just how much Washington's offering and how many years they're willing to give the free agent first baseman no one knows, but the stories officially out there now...
So much so that even the Pardon The Interruption guys (Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon) talked about it this afternoon:
Wilbon: "Washington Nationals apparently the favorites to sign Prince Fielder? You surprised?"
Kornheiser: "No. Fielder's a Scott Boras guy and they've got [Stephen] Strasburg and [Bryce] Harper on their team."
Officially confirmed and perfectly simplified.