The main free agents still on the market include, Prince, Rollins, Aramis Ramirez, Beltran, Edwin Jackson, Kuroda,Vazquez, Pena and Cuddyer. There is also someone named Yu who is ready to join a major league club.
A busy week of meetings saw some impressive player movement, especially by the Angels and Marlins, who both acquired two of the top players on the market. With Pujols and C.J Wilson heading to the Angels and the Marlins acquiring Reyes and Mark Buehrle, it seems that other teams must make a move to counterbalance the power shift in their respective divisions.
Enter Prince Fielder.
Many teams believe that the Texas Rangers must make a pitch for the big swinging lefty to counteract the moves made by the Angels. Texas has the money to offer Fielder (especially after their new deal with FOX), however they maintain that they must re-sign their nucleus in the future. Many believe that signing Fielder to upgrade over Mitch Moreland (2011: .259, 16 HR, 51 RBI) is needed to contend in a division that now boasts Pujols.
So since the Rangers are a clear possibility, who else have a stake in the Fielder fund? Well, a return to Milwaukee has always been plausible, as Prince said he would return if everyone else was equal. However, with the news that Braun has failed his PED test, a return to the Brew Crew seems very unlikely. Without Braun for a possible 50 games, Fielder would be much less likely to re-sign. Count them out.
Don’t forget the Cubs, who some believe will acquire Fielder. Joel Sherman of the New York Post believes the Cubs and Epstein won’t balk at the possibility of acquiring a slugger of this star power, without any bidding war with the Sox or Yanks.
The Blue Jays have not spent any of their new off-season play money yet. As previously stated, they have some new funds to work with, yet have made excellent small, efficient deals during the Winter Meetings (Santos and Mathis). There is one thing that is definitely slowing up the Fielder signing, and that thing is a Yu.
I believe that Darvish and Fielder are both important to each other. I don’t think Fielder will sign until the Darvish sweepstakes have been filed. Whichever team fails to win the posting fee for Yu (Blue Jays included), I am sure that they would be willing to grab Plan B, a guy named Prince. So do not expect much to happen on the Fielder front until Yu’s posting fee has been resolved.
I think this is also in the best interest of Prince himself. With Yu gone, there aren’t any pitchers (or position players for that matter) with the star power of Prince. Although the market for Fielder has been dwindling of late, I think he could use the leverage acquired by being the only big name left on the market to force someone to make a rash move and sign him for the better part of a decade.
With the Winter Meetings gone, we didn’t attract the Brett Lawrie 2.0 (we traded for Lawrie during the Meetings last season), but we didn’t rashly spend our new funds and are in a position to make a big run at Yu. The posting deadline will end on Wednesday, when we will come back and take a look at who won the Yu sweepstakes.