Nats and Prince: No Go?

With rumors still swirling as to where Prince Fielder may land, one destination has seemed to fade out of the ‘sweepstakes’ picture. According to speculation, Washington may no longer be in competition for the coveted first baseman. But why?

Are they too invested in another ‘slugger’?

Are they not competitive enough to attract a perennial all-star like Fielder?

Or do the Nationals actually still have an in with the Fielder camp?

The truth of the matter is that until Fielder signs somewhere – which he will at some point before spring training opens – everything that is said is speculation. So care to speculate some more?

Prior to the 2011 season, the Nationals made themselves known around the league by going out and signing Jayson Werth. The former Phillies outfielder was coming off two monster years with Philadelphia in which he hit .282 with 63 home runs and 184 runs batted-in. With those numbers in mind Washington GM Mike Rizzo signed Werth to a seven-year deal worth $126-million in December of 2010. This contract became the 14th richest contract in league history – which was in large part to the negotiating skills of Werth’s agent Scott Boras.

But maybe Washington has learned from their first long-term monster deal. Although it’s only been one year, Werth has (for the lack of a better term) earned his worth. In the 2011 season he put up average numbers hitting .232 while smacking out 20 home runs and adding 58 RBIs – certainly not numbers you’d expect from the 32-year old who will make $70 million over the next six seasons.

The rumor is that Fielder is looking for a contract of 10-12 years worth roughly $20-million per year. Which would have the Nationals paying out almost $35-million between two players until at least 2017 when Werth’s contract ends.

With that kind of money, you’d think the team would at least be competitive and maybe with the extra wild card team they have a chance. Okay I’ll be serious. Without some better starting and relief pitching and even with the big bats of Werth (if he comes back with a better second year with the Nats) and possibly Fielder the team would have to play better than they have since the team moved to Washington in 2005.

But signing a player of Fielder’s magnitude would certainly help. With the exception of his first year in the league, Fielder has always been among the league leaders in home runs, runs batted in, and slugging percentage while maintaining a very respectable batting average. And Fielder definitely didn’t hurt his worth with his 2011 stats – hitting .299 with 38 home runs and 120 runs batted in.

It does help that Fielder’s agent – Scott Boras – has recently had dealings with the Washington front office. He knows the way they work and the personalities within the organization. If Boras can get Werth the deal he did, without question Fielder will score a long-term deal which will pay big dividends. Therefore I will never believe that a team is completely out of the running until Fielder signs somewhere. But it’s clear that Washington has taken a step back in pursuing the big first baseman.

Most recently, the Texas Rangers have been in talks with the Fielder party. But as I mentioned – until the big man signs – this is all just speculation.

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3 Responses to Nats and Prince: No Go?

  1. Sandra says:

    Yip, that’s my son. Very proud. Keep up the great work.

  2. paul hickling says:

    Prince Fielder in a Nationals uniform, they still will be average. I miss the Expos.

  3. Very true. You can’t win a World Series with Werth, Strasburg, and potentially Fielder!

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