There has been a lot of talk about Prince Fielder and supposedly there is talk that “this” maybe the week that we may start to see some real action on a supposed deal. I suppose it’s possible, really anything is possible. But, we really don’t know when and where he’ll sign and while I don’t like to compare anyone to Manny Ramirez, simply because he’s what we like to refer to as “special”, Prince Fielder could wait out a deal until spring training. Again, anything is possible.
But I started reviewing the rumors that are out there and sizing things up.
It’s commonly believed, those whom write the said rumors, that the Mariners are very much in the mix with the bidding and will attempt to go the distance to sign him. While money isn’t so much the issue, again, “supposedly”, there seems to be common belief that outside the dollar bill, the Mariners don’t have much to offer Fielder and have more “against” them than for them.
I like arguing. My mom thought, when I was 8 years old, I was destined to become a lawyer. Yeah, that didn’t really work out and come to think of it, I’m not sure why… that’s a thought for a different time. What I would like to present is some reasons outside of the ‘ol might buck, why Prince Fielder may actually consider the Mariners.
- Felix Hernandez:
You could also call this the Lebron case. This hasn’t been mentioned much but it remains a truth. Great players, seem to enjoy playing with other great players. We’ve seen this happen a lot around basketball on certain occasions in Baseball and Football.
I have no idea what Felix’s association is with Prince -if they are friends, or if they even like each other- but think about this: the best pitcher in baseball is under contract for the next 3 years is still getting better and is also one of the most passionate guys while out on the field right now in the entire game.
Another thought is that he has been playing with this seemingly “terrible” team and yet he doesn’t want to leave and may even love it here. There maybe more to this story, I certainly wouldn’t know, but I have to think that it’s a story that could be at least be eye opening to Prince and peak his interest in Seattle.
I say that partially all because I remember CC Sabathia, back in July, was said to be “talking up” New York to Prince during the All-Star break. Why? Because no team has a shortage of guys that can whack the ball like that of Prince. It was believed that there was a remote possibility the Yankees might take a look see at Prince. That hasn’t been the case, but who is to say that Felix didn’t say a few things to him either.
There are other teams that have superstars on their team and could be courting Prince. I’m not here to compare said teams to ours. It just seems to me like Seattle would be a natural fit as he’d have the opportunity to say he was “the guy” on offense and playing with one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. Guys have ego’s, Baseball players especially, it seems like it player right into that hand.
- We Have A Young (And Growing) Team:
Sure, the Mariners aren’t in a “win now” situation but that doesn’t mean that the team is hopeless or that they don’t have some really interesting pieces going forward. They have young guys already on the big league team, that in the future, could very well propel them in a towards being a good team. I don’t know how much thought is put into this for a prospective free-agent — maybe it’s quite a bit and then again maybe it’s not at all– it has seemed to be something that gets left out a lot when talking about Fielder signing with the Mariners.
Dustin Ackley seems destined to be the next great lead-off hitter in the M’s line-up. The thought of Prince mentoring two young sluggers, such as Justin Smoak and Mike Carp, seems like it could be useful. Of course who knows if that would actually be helpful.
Then there is the possible rotation, one that if it breaks right, could be among the best in all of baseball. It also could be in place as soon as end of the year with James Paxton and Danny Hultzen.
The team isn’t one “big bat” away, and I like to reemphsize that, but honeslty they aren’t as far off as some of us fans tend to make them out to be. With some positives steps forward at the plate from key players *cough*Franklin Gutierrez*cough*, *cough*Justin Smoak*, this team could even luck into being a .500 team with out the help of Fielder.
- The Possibility Of A Flexible Payroll:
I’m not saying this is a certainty, I obviously have no front office knowledge and no one that attends such meetings that would openly share that information with me. So while I suggest that the Mariners might have future payroll flexibility, I do so a little tongue in cheek. I don’t particularly subscribe to all of Geoff Bakers’ financial theories with this team, and they are just that theories, though one could hardly dismiss it. Again, it’s completely possible that the organization raises payroll in the future. It would seem even more so possible if they were to shell at huge amounts for that of Prince Fielder.
It would make further sense to go ahead and spend the money, so long as the team was competitive and winning ball games. While that’s not nesscarily happening now, I think it’s not out of the question for next year, depending on how things go this season.
If the payroll were to be raised, it’s not improbable, that Prince fielder would be alone in the line-up as it would seem an obvious to use that to add help for Fielder. There are a few interesting options that could be available as soon as next year with the Mariners name on them (Miguel Montanero, is one name that I, personally, really like.)
- The American League:
Let’s not pretend that Prince Fielder is stupid. He knows he’s not going to be good in the field much longer. And when I say “good”, it’s more of a “he can play and not kill the team at the position.” And by much longer I mean that there will come a time in which both his career and the team needs will dictate that he move to the DH. At which time he would be a weight on a NL team rather than being continue being an assett for an American League team.
Also, think about how long he can extend his career if he were to DH, let’s just throw out a number, 50 games a season. He’s been rather dependable since he made the major league club and so I think it’s alright to conclude that while you can’t say for certain, that he isn’t a current injury risk. That said taking 25 – 50 games a year at the DH rather than first base could prolong his ability to be useful out in the field as well as give him the ability to continue racking up stats and make a case for the Baseball Hall-of-Fame, while still being considered a position player for the majority of his career.
That kind of sounds silly, presenting the DH in that way, but when you consider that there are a lot of players, who don’t want to get “stuck” DH’ing at an early time in their career and a prime case for that is Edgar Martinez who had tremendous numbers and has had problems getting support for his candidcy to the HoF. The position scares off players from becoming willing to enter into a role at an early age –regardless of skill set–, simply, because when their career comes to an end and they go up for an opportunity to get into the hall-of-fame and, in the duh statement of the centry, they want the best chance possible to be remembered.
While Fielder wouldn’t have to go directly into that spot, he could slowly drift there over the 6 or 8 years that he signs. I can’t believe that over the extent of the contract that he wouldn’t stand to be better off in the league with the DH than without it. While, of course
- The AL-West Division:
Okay, the Rangers look like they’ll get Darvish, the Angels obviously made huge upgrades in Pujols and Wilson. But the AL West, even with the addition of the Astros is one of -if not- the weakest divison in all of baseball. It’s obviously going to be competitive but then again what divison isn’t. It could be seen that the Mariners have a good outside chance of stealing one of those wild card playoff spots. It comes into exsistance in 2013 and ultimately all your charging for is about 90 wins.
Heck, as many as 86 wins, would have been enough to win it in the past 10 years. So we’re talking about it being a complete stretch for this club in the next 2-4 years. A team that is currently sitting at about 78 win team and could very well be closer to 81 at the end of the off-season.
It doesn’t take, but a few guys, having career years for us to grab that 5th spot and with our pitching, currently as is, I like any one game scenerio with any team in baseball.
That’s not even taking into account the amount of possible turn over that could be occuring in a matter of a couple years in Texas. Or the fact that while the Angels have some great players, they are getting old and that could be enough to open the door for the Mariners.
These are all things that we don’t quantify or put into a formula but that we all think about. There some things, that despite us not knowing the answer, we have to realize could very well come into play.
I’m not all for a huge signing. But, I do get tired of the whole “what do the Mariners have to offer” rhetoric that has been swimging around of late. I didn’t even get into the fact that right field, while hardly going the same affect on HR/FB as Miller Park’s right field, isn’t going to hurt him as hitter whose primarily made his home run living by pulling the ball.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t better options available to him. I don’t know who has offered what or has even called him. I don’t think outside of Scott Boras anyone knows that. But I, for one, would have to think that if the Nationals are in fact interested that would be a heck of an organization to join that just seems to have everything in place for an immedate run to the playoffs. Not to mention they are east coast and it’s a “supposed” preference of his to be a long the Atlantic with his home in Florida.
That said, there are certainly some reasons that Seattle could interest Fielder. The Mariners aren’t just a dead club praying that their the only one that wants him.
Jack Zduriencik has done a lot in attempting to turn this organization around the past three years and while no we’ve yet to see him corrale a big named free-agent, regardless of if Fielder signs, it won’t be because of the organization’s previous perception by players around the league.