• UPDATED: 5:05 pm EST - According to various sources, the Rangers and Yu Darvish have agreed on what is reportedly a 6-year/$60 million dollar deal. With the posting fee included, Texas has committed $111.7M to bring the 25-year-old right-hander to the major leagues. Now all the potential Fielder suitors wait and see what the Rangers do next. Are they going to add Prince Fielder too? Are the Nats still in the market for Fielder? Is this whole thing almost over?
• Original Report: The 5:00 pm EST deadline for the Texas Rangers to sign 25-year-old right-hander Yu Darvish is fast approaching with all reports predicting the two sides will agree on a deal. The decision the AL West franchise makes is expected to have a serious impact on the Prince Fielder market and has been pointed to as the next significant milepost in what has been a long, tedious, rumor-filled, speculation-driven, drawn-out process of finding a new home for the soon-to-be-former-Milwaukee Brewer. Those few teams that remain (or are believed to still be) in the market for the 27-year-old slugger are waiting for Texas to finally get their deal with Darvish done. Then the Rangers can determine how much more money they can spend, and decide if inking Fielder to a long-term deal is even a possibility...
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) tweeted this afternoon that, "Rangers people [are] still suggesting they 'probably' can't sign Prince assuming they sign Yu." If Texas doesn't try to match the LA Angels' signing of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, settling instead for "just" adding a potential top-of-the-rotation arm in Darvish, Fielder and his agent Scott Boras will be left with the best offer on the table unless another suitor suddenly emerges late in the process. The latest reports out of Texas, including an article by CBSSports.com's Matt Snyder and the Ft. Worth Telegram's Jeff Wilson, deal solely with the process of getting a deal with Darvish done, with no mention of Fielder.
MLBNetworkRadio host and former Nats' GM Jim Bowden, who wrote on Twitter last week (@JimBowdenESPNXM) that, "Rangers meeting with Fielder @ the Four Seasons Hotel went extremely well & they can afford to sign both Darvish and Fielder if they choose," opened his MLB Network Radio show "Inside Pitch" this afternoon by saying that behind the scenes the Rangers have made, "... it very clear that if they sign Darvish, they're probably not going to pursue Fielder seriously at that point, unless the market collapsed on Fielder, and that Darvish will end up being their move. And that is kind of interesting, because then that puts Fielder back in Washington with very little competition."
There's no noise emanating from 1500 South Capitol St. SE these days. Last we heard from sources talking to Nats beat reporters, MLB.com's Bill Ladson was writing, as he did in a 1/14/12 article entitled, "Nats still in running to land free-agent Fielder", that Washington's willing to give Fielder (and his agent Scott Boras) a no-trade clause and, "An industry source believes that the Nationals want to give Fielder a six- or seven-year deal." Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore, in reporting on a meeting between Boras and the Nats' brass at the owners meetings, wrote a week ago today, in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "Nationals still pursuing Prince Fielder, met today with agent Scott Boras", that ... a person familiar with the situation said the Nationals are 'patiently and aggressively' pursuing Fielder."
The WaPost writer's sources didn't provide any details on how many years or how much money the Nationals were willing to offer the hard-hitting, high-OBP slugging first baseman. ESPN.com's Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) speculated on Twitter this afternoon that the, "Fielder situation [is] a lot like [St. Louis' OF Matt] Holliday's: Small number of suitors, apparently. STL chose to give 7-year deal. Will someone do that w/Prince?" Will the Washington Nationals put a seventh year on the table if they haven't already? Will someone go to eight years? Darvish's decision is only an hour away now...Will Prince Fielder then finally find a new home?