Both Washington Post Nationals beat writer Adam Kilgore in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "Nationals still pursuing Prince Fielder, met today with agent Scott Boras", and ESPN and MLB Network Radio host Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenESPNXM) on Twitter reported last night that the Washington Nationals owners met with Scott Boras, the agent for 27-year-old slugger Prince Fielder, at the owners' meetings in Arizona. Before the former D.C. GM took to the satellite airwaves today, he wrote on Twitter that, "... by all accounts it sounds as if Fielders options are possibly down to just [Washington] and [Florida]...albeit with others on the outskirts just in case."
"The only team that I know of that legitimately is still left on the table, albeit [at] much less than the asking price, is the Washington Nationals," Bowden said this afternoon on his MLB Network Radio show "Inside Pitch." "Now, Ted Lerner [and] Mark Lerner met with Scott Boras last night and, look, you're talking about two of the best negotiators in baseball between Ted Lerner and Scott Boras, but it's also a kind of a unique situation because the last time these guys got into a situation like this was the Mark Teixeira negotiations of a few years ago. But the difference in that case was Teixeira literally had the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Orioles and the Angels all playing at big numbers. This time around, Scott doesn't have the same type of leverage he had then."
With the Yankees and Red Sox settled at first, the O's not seen as a legitimate option, the Angels with Kendry Morales and...uh...oh yeah, Albert Pujols at first, the Cubs no longer in the mix (according to Mr. Bowden), Toronto, "clearly not players," (again acc to Bowden) and Seattle, "... apparently not playing at the level that is going to be needed," as Bowden put it, "It really looks like it's either Washington or maybe even Florida," as Fielder's only serious suitors as he'd written on Twitter before going on the air. "To me, the Washington Nationals have a very unique and clear opportunity right now," the one-time Nats' general manager said, "cause I'm not sure they're going to get any real competitiveness from anyone else out there unless the Dodgers were to get sold."
Fielder's agent told MLB.com's Barry Bloom, as quoted in article this afternoon entitled, "Boras: Prince will sign before spring's first pitch", that he believed "Certainly we're going to have him signed well in advance of Spring Training," though Mr. Boras said, "I can't give you the exact date." (ed. note - "Bowden, separately, on his MLB Network Radio show said he thought that timetable eliminated the Dodgers as a candidate to land Fielder this winter since their ownership situation likely won't be settled in time.")
Los Angeles Times' Dodgers beat writer Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) wrote this afternoon that he'd heard that the, "... Brewers invited Fielder to return for 1 year so as to get mega-deal from new Dodgers owner next winter. Boras showed no interest." ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) spent the afternoon punching holes in the idea of the Florida Marlins as a player in the market for Fielder. "Even if the #Marlins had an interest in Prince Fielder -- which is questionable -- they never give players no-trade clauses," Mr. Crasnick wrote, "Scott Boras always pushes for no-trade clauses, so we're talking about a potentially insurmountable obstacle right off the top."
Do Fielder and Boras have any other options?
• Late Afternoon UPDATES: Florida Sun-Sentinel Marlins beat writer Juan C. Rodriguez wrote this afternoon, in an article entitled, "Miami Marlins have not changed stance on Fielder; Cepedes remains top target", that he'd spoken to a source, "who has spoken with [Florida's] front office," who says the Marlins, "... have not begun pursuing Fielder." The Marlins' President David Samson did say, however, that the Marlins see Yoenis Cespedes as a good fit in Miami. More on that in a second.
In following up on LA Times' writer Bill Shaikin's report, a post on the LA Times' "Dodgers Blog" by Steve Dilbeck entitled, "McCourt mum on Fielder, calls Dodgers sale interest 'fantastic'", quoted Dodgers' owner Frank McCourt, when asked about LA's interest in Fielder, laughing and saying, "'We're not going to talk about that.'"
• Another Endorsement: Mike Cameron, in MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Cameron: Prince would add 'buzz' to DC", joined Bryce Harper, Gio Gonzalez and Michael Morse in talking publicly about Fielder coming to D.C. Cameron told MLB.com's Nats beat writer, "From a baseball standpoint, he would do wonders for Jayson Werth, Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman,'" and, "'[Fielder] would carry the bulk of the offense on that club,'" and the move, "'... would bring the Nationals to the forefront, just because he creates a visible buzz about where they are going.'"
• Yoenis Cespedes in Winter Leagues:
ESPN.com's Kevin Cabral (@kevcabral) was the first to report this morning that 26-year-old Cuban-born soon-to-be-international-free agent Yoenis Cespedes had decided to join the Liga de Beisbol Dominicano's Aguilas Cibaenas as he waits for his citizenship issues in the Dominican Republic to be sorted out. ESPN.com's Enrique Rojas and MLB.com's Spencer Fordin confirmed the news. Cespedes will reportedly serve as a DH with the Aguilas.