The 2011-12 Major League Baseball off-season has been a busy one.
The game’s top free agent Albert Pujols left the only home he ever knew in his career, that being in St.Louis; Japanese sensation Yu Darvish made history when he signed with the Texas Rangers, earning a six-year contract in the $60 million range, while also setting a posting record of $51,703,411 and the Miami Marlins made several big splashes acquiring Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Carlos Zambrano, as they move into their new stadium.
Despite all of the movement in baseball, one of the biggest names on the market is still available. Prince Fielder, who has cleverly been named “PF Flyer” by his agent Scott Boras sits without a contract, awaiting his possible new home.
Boras, who is responsible for getting big money out of ball clubs for his clients in the past, is dangling Fielder on the open market, awaiting the highest bidder. Rumours speculate that the super agent is looking for a contract similar to that of Pujols’ ten-year, $254 million deal that he signed with the Angels.
Will teams fork over the kind of money that Prince and his agent seek? Or will they balk at the asking price, forcing the slugger to sign a modest contract and await his big payday further down the road?
One can understand why Boras seeks Pujols money. Last season, Fielder posted a batting line of .299/.415/.566 with 38HR and 120RBI compared to Pujols’ line of .299/.366/.541 with 37HR and 99RBI. Combine that with the five year gap in age (Fielder is 27, Pujols is 32) and similar fielding percentages (.990 for Fielder, .992 for Pujols) and it makes sense that Fielder receive a similar contract.
But how many teams can actually afford Fielder in this price range?
Washington, who already has a first baseman in Adam LaRoche, is a potential suitor. General Manager Mike Rizzo and Boras are familiar with each other. The two completed deals that saw Jayson Werth obtain seven years at a steep price tag of $126 million prior to last season, as well as Stephen Strasburg secure a $7.5 million signing bonus.
Baltimore could go after Fielder. Mark Reynolds is currently slated to play first base for the O’s, but new GM Dan Duquette, who has already signed imports Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chen, may want to impress his superiors and the fans of Camden Yards with a serious long-term signing.
Despite spending big on Darvish and adding reliever Joe Nathan, the Rangers may want to upgrade over Mitch Moreland at first. Texas has two consecutive American League championships to their credit, but has fallen short of the big prize. The addition of Fielder to their already potent offense may be enough to earn them the World Series title they desire.
A surprise suitor such as the Cubs could also be a possibility. President of baseball operation Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have made several moves this off-season to take the team in a new direction.
Chicago has shipped off Zambrano, Sean Marshall, Tyler Colvin and Andrew Cashner while letting Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez walk via free agency and rumours had them actively shopping Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano this off-season, although Epstein denied that the club wanted to move Garza.
The Cubbies have added a bunch of new faces to the ball club such as Anthony Rizzo, Ian Stewart, David DeJesus, Paul Maholm, Andy Sonnanstine, Mike Leake, Chris Volstad and Manny Corpas, while re-signing familiar players Kerry Wood and Reed Johnson.
With the young and inexperienced Rizzo at first base the possibility of a Fielder signing is there, although it would be doubtful that a serious long-term deal would take place.
Boras is notorious for waiting out the market to see how the contracts of other players develop and it seems like he is doing the same with Fielder.
Will the strategy pay off for the PF Flyer in the form of a long-term deal? Or has Boras waited too long?
Where will the big man be hammering long balls this season?
Published by: Baseball Stuff
Published Link: http://baseballstuff.ca/2012/01/23/where-will-the-pf-flyer-land/