Selling a Prince?

According to Scott Boras, team are pepper-spraying each other in the aisles in the competition for his client, Prince Fielder.

The picture on the blogosphere is different.

The teams most often cited as favourites for The Prince are the Cubs, Mariners, Rangers, Nationals, and Blue Jays.

Except that the Cubs “are not ready to spend big” on Prince and “haven’t had any conversations with him”.

And the Mariners? Unrealistic? The Mariners have a limited chance at the postseason, even with Fielder, unless they can fill some other holes. But if they pay for a Prince, they may have limited resources left to fill those holes. Also, Prince is not a pitcher’s-park kind of guy. While he has never played in Safeco, his career OPS in the two NL parks with similar park hitting factors is .783 in Petco (San Diego) and .828 in AT&T (San Francisco). This as compared to a career OPS of .929.

Texas? They may not have the payroll flexibility that people think – their projected opening day payroll is $105 million (after arbitration awards) without Fielder, compared to $92 million in 2011. And they have stated that starting pitching will be their priority in 2012. And Nolan Ryan is saying that Prince is not a good financial fit and that the Rangers are not pursuing him. Ken Rosenthal goes even further, saying that Texas will not bid on Fielder.

Washington does have a history of throwing bucks at targets. Like Adam LaRoche, who they say they will play at 1B in 2012. The Nats also apparently see Yoenis Cespedes as an alternative to Fielder as a middle-of-the-order bat, and – as a NL team – would not have a spot for The Prince at DH when he slows down.

Which leaves – gosh! – the Blue Jays.

Granted, a lot of the comments above could be posturing – or sandbagging. And Boras really does have the potential to pull a greedy owner rabbit out of his hat. But I see a scenario where none of the Fielder suitors are prepared to go above 6 years at the right numbers, and he ends up with a 5-6 year contract at a higher per-annum. If that happens, the Jays could well be players. Because even if they *do* get Darvish, total 2012 payroll should be in the $100 million range … which still leaves them with a bit of flexibility, based on the $120 million number that A-squared has mentioned a few times.

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