Purportedly, Prince Fielder will get paid. He will leave the Brewers this winter. Scott Boras will roll out his magical binder full of extraordinary performance theories and persuade a team to sign him to a mega contract Milwaukee has no hope of matching. He’s rumored to get somewhere between Adrian Gonzalez’ deal (seven-years $154m) and Mark Teixeira’s (eight-years $180m). He’ll probably ask for more. The story, however, is missing a small detail. What team is really going to pay him?
Teixeira got his money, because the Red Sox and Yankees were bidding for him. Both those teams are out. The Phillies are paying Ryan Howard, 31, about $145 million through 2016. The Angels, though they could use a bat, don’t like dealing with Boras. They wouldn’t go that high for Teixeira who was better and played for them. They also already took on four-years and $86 million of Vernon Wells. The top four payroll teams likely will be out of the bidding.
Moving down, the White Sox have their designated bats, with Konerko signed through 2013 and Dunn signed through 2014. The Mets have a more competent front office, and will be shedding or at best redistributing the Beltran money to multiple positions. The Giants are currently playing awful defense/DH types at first, third and both corner outfield spots. They are paying Zito/Rowand $32.1 million. They also have multiple young stars who will be due for a raise.
The Cubs would be Fielder’s most plausible destination. Chicago has $25 million in dead weight (Fukudome and Pena) departing. Fielder is the exact type of expensive mistake Jim Hendry just can’t quit making. Though, that availability depends on what Albert Pujols decides. If he hits the market, signing him will be the Cubs’ plan A, B, C, and D.
Chicago could also low ball Fielder as the market below is slim. The Tigers are perennial Boras victims, but the can’t add payroll and have Miguel Cabrera locked up. The Dodgers don’t have any money. Boras would have to troll for a desperate team such as the Orioles, the Nationals or the Astros to make an offer. Is that preferable to a slightly less lucrative deal with the Brewers?
Fielder’s market isn’t that great and that’s viewing him in the best possible light. He’s a bad defender, when teams are realizing the value of defense. He’s also fat, Mo Vaughn Mets era fat, and he’s still in his physical prime. Vaughn was finished as an elite player at 30. His father was a “big body” guy who fell off radically after 30. Cecil was 4 inches taller and 40 lbs lighter. Prince could be finished halfway through a seven or eight-year contract.
Prince Fielder may be worth X amount in a vacuum, but some team has to pay him that amount. At a crowded position, it’s not clear that market for him exists.
[Photo via Getty]