The most fascinating story of the off-season, to me, is the Prince Fielder Saga.
Okay, maybe using the word saga is a bit much, but the fact that Fielder isn’t signed (and that no one seems interested in signing him) is pretty remarkable.
Fielder has been a monster at the plate since becoming a full-time player in 2006. Not only does he put up great power numbers, but he can hit for average and walks* a lot too.
*In 2011 he walked exactly one more time than he struck out. Not sure if there’s any significance to this, but I thought it was neat.
By all accounts, he should have been signed weeks ago. But he hasn’t been, which is weird.
What do Fielder’s people honestly think of the market at this point? Fielder’s agent (Scott Boras) is the best there is at drawing teams into bidding wars, but no one is falling for it this time. Interest around baseball seems to range from casual to indifferent.
We’re little more than a month from Spring Training and one of the better power hitters in the game can’t find a place to play. This is a nightmare game of musical chairs where the person without a chair misses out on millions of dollars.
All of this leads me to one question, something that would have been unthinkable not long ago. Would Fielder take a 1 year deal to drum up interest for 2013?
For Boras, there is precedent for such a thing. In 2010, Adrian Beltre took a 1 year deal in Boston, put up impressive numbers, and then landed with the Rangers in 2011.
The difference between Beltre and Fielder is that Beltre was injured in 2009 and only played in 111 games. He had something to prove because the market wasn’t interested in him if he couldn’t stay healthy and be productive.
Fielder played in every game last season. He hit 38 HRs and had 120 RBIs. He was also intentionally walked 32* times.
*Five less than Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera combined.
But nobody wants him.
I don’t know what the future holds for Prince Fielder. Maybe he’ll take less money tomorrow. Maybe he and his agent will stick to their guns to the bitter end.
Maybe he’ll sign with the Nationals or the Orioles or the Mariners. Maybe the Rangers will surprise everybody and announce a deal sometime in the coming weeks. Or maybe the Angels will decide that 3 first basemen aren’t enough and they’ll sign him.
Whatever happens, the Fielder Saga has been stocked with intrigue. I will keep my eye on it from now until its resolution, because there isn’t much else for me to keep my eye on at this point anyway.