How the Cubs-Padres Trade Affects Fielder

So a day after I write up a treatise on the Nationals and Prince Fielder, it turns out there’s even more to say about the oversized first baseman.

Navigating the offseason can be a tricky process for agents and for teams. As an agent, if you rush to get your players signed too quickly, you risk leaving money on the table. Long negotiations give more teams a chance to get in on the bidding, and players certainly don’t want to sign the first offer they receive. But if an agent waits too long to get his player signed, the agent face the danger of watching his player’s market evaporate. It’s a delicate balance, and being a successful agent requires being able to judge a player’s market and know when it’s the optimal time to sign.

There’s nobody better at judging markets and knowing when to make a deal than Scott Boras. With that said, I’m beginning to wonder if he’s going to have a tough time drumming up a large price tag for Prince Fielder.

So far this offseason, there have only been a few teams rumored as potential landing spots for Fielder. The Mariners have had some interest, but they’re not a great fit — and they haven’t seriously pursued Fielder. The Rangers have said they might consider Fielder if their talks with Yu Darvish fall through. The Orioles might go after him if his value utterly plummets. The Marlins briefly contemplated going after Fielder, but then decided against it. Noticing a trend here? The Nationals have been the team that’s displayed the most interest in Fielder, but as I spelled out earlier, there are some significant reasons why they may not be gung-ho about signing him. So far, the best way to describe their interest would be “inquisitive, but tepid.”

The Cubs had never really had much interest in Fielder, but given their large market and their hole at first base, it didn’t seem unreasonable to think that they might sweep into the negotiations late and make a run at Fielder. But now that the Cubs have acquired Anthony Rizzo, we can cross that team off the list of Fielder’s potential landing spots.

I make it a habit never to underestimate Scott Boras, but even he can’t wring wine out of dry rocks. At the moment, there simply aren’t any teams out there willing to pay big money for Fielder, and without any large market teams in the mix, it’s nearly impossible to get a bidding war started. Could it be Fielder only ends up getting small offers, and that he has to be content with something less than Boras’ initial demands?

I’m not sure I see any team out there right now that has the money to go big for Fielder and doesn’t already have an established first baseman (or a young prospect coming up). Maybe the Blue Jays? There are teams I could see getting in on the bidding for Fielder if his price dropped: the Marlins, Mariners and Nats would want to reconsider matters — but I’m getting increasingly skeptical that Fielder’s deal will be a whopper.

But then again, this is Scott Boras. If history is any judge, you’d be better off betting on him and against me.



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Steve is the editor-in-chief of DRaysBay and the keeper of the FanGraphs Library. You can follow him on Twitter at @steveslow.


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Steven
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Steven
4 years 8 months ago

I think the annual money will be the same, but the length of the deal will be shorter. Boras was probably looking for 8 to 10 years. My guess is the Nats will sign him for 5 to 6 years at rougly $21 to $23 million per year. The longer the deal, the smaller the annual amount. All about risk.

Eminor3rd
Member
Eminor3rd
4 years 8 months ago

Rays have a massive black hole at first, if I’m AA, I’m sending Lind to TBR with some cash for any warm body, then signing Fielder at below initial slaary projections WITH the opt out, so I can be off the hook in three years if the window closes in the meantime.

Ben
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Ben
4 years 8 months ago

The problem with that is If the Rays wanted an offensively-anemic 1B they would just resign Kotchman.

My personal fantasy at the moment is Fielder signs for 1 year/$20 MM with the Rays and holds out for a big contract next year when there will still be a vacuum of available first basemen.

Eminor3rd
Member
Eminor3rd
4 years 8 months ago

You gotta figure the Marlins would give him a lot more than that for one year, if he was gonna do that.

Valuearb
Guest
Valuearb
4 years 8 months ago

You realize the opt out is terrible for the team don’t you? If prince eats himselve out of his uniform, he never opts out and the team is stuck paying $20m a year to a liability. If he plays well enough you’d like to retain him, you have to bid in the open market and likely giving him a bigger new contract. Opt outs are very costly, any team going after Prince would be far better off offering a short term deal, so they aren’t stuck for 7 years if he declines.

njd.aitken
Member
njd.aitken
4 years 8 months ago

Wrong. The opt out is not always bad for a team, nothing is ALWAYS bad for a team. Except a plane crash, maybe. Say the Nationals sign Fielder and he is good but not great, the team continues to lose, and annual player salaries have risen (as annual player salaries tend to do). Fielder opts out after year 3 to get a few more years on the back end at a similar yearly rate (as Sabathia did this year), and bingo the Nationals no longer have to pay big bucks for a player they don’t need to spend money on.

hk
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hk
4 years 8 months ago

@njd.aitken,

In your scenario, isn’t it bad for the team that they paid $60M to $63M for a good, but not great 1B?

M.Twain
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M.Twain
4 years 8 months ago

How do you know the Mariners haven’t seriously pursued Fielder?

Ryan
Guest
4 years 8 months ago

I dont think you’re giving the Jays enough credit here…. They’re there as Boras’ fallback to make sure the Nationals stay honest with the Fielder negotiations

Math Nerd
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Math Nerd
4 years 8 months ago

I love your use of they’re, there, their :)

The Hardball Times
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The Hardball Times
4 years 8 months ago

He used them all correctly!

Ian R.
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Ian R.
4 years 8 months ago

Huh? I don’t see a “their,” which is too bad because it would fit in front of the word “Fielder” instead of “the.”

Less math, more English perhaps?
Guest
Less math, more English perhaps?
4 years 8 months ago

I love it when people try to put others down and make themselves feel big, but get it completely wrong. Moron.

John Thacker
Guest
John Thacker
4 years 8 months ago

Less math, more English perhaps?:

I don’t see anything in Math Nerd’s post implying that it must be taken as sarcastic or as trying to put the previous poster down. Yes, it’s on the Internet, but that doesn’t mean that it must be an insult. You’re the only one insulting people.

Did you assume that Math Nerd’s comment must be “trying to put others down” because you’re the sort of jerk who likes to do that and call people morons?

PPP
Guest
PPP
4 years 8 months ago

As a Brewers fan i am cautiously optimistic that they may still jump back into this. Prince is wildly popular in Milwaukee and with the lack of attractive alternatives out there I think there is at least some chance that he may take a little less in years to remain a Brewer. If they would bump their offer to 6 years $140 million or something like that it may get a deal done.

placidity
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placidity
4 years 8 months ago

Crew’s payroll is already higher than it has ever been. I don’t think they have another $20M to spend, so signing Prince would mean they’d at least have to unload a couple other pieces like Hart and Wolf or Greinke and K-Rod (eating a chunk of his salary most likely). I don’t see that happening.

JWO
Guest
JWO
4 years 8 months ago

I’m hoping for a one-year contract, $10M with the Nats. Fielder can come to DC with something to prove, and play with Strasburg and Harper. Just reenter the market next year and extract those dollars then.

Yeah, I’m dreaming. But it would be entertaining…

Nicholas
Guest
Nicholas
4 years 8 months ago

No way, Jose.

njd.aitken
Member
njd.aitken
4 years 8 months ago

Try 1/30.

BX
Guest
BX
4 years 8 months ago

That would be epic if he went year-to-year with massive salaries.

It would even be the best way, IMO, to maximize money. If he’ s taking 1/25-30 every year from a team.

Bill
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Bill
4 years 8 months ago

Oh, I wouldn’t be so sure about this deal not going through. Rumor has it, the Lerner’s have pictures of Prince Fielder killing Caylee Anthony.

Steve
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Steve
4 years 8 months ago

I am hoping that Jack Z is slowplaying the slowplayer in Boras and just waiting him out. Having said that, I find it a little surprising that Arizona has not come up at all as a possibility. They have the room in the budget and, while Goldschmidt is fine, he is no Prince. A 3/4/5 of Upton/Fielder/Montero is not bad.

Math Nerd
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Math Nerd
4 years 8 months ago

Haven’t the Cubs been pretty clear about having no interest in Fielder? I don’t see how this trade has any effect him.

Robbie G.
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Robbie G.
4 years 8 months ago

It would be pretty awesome if Prince Fielder became completely disgusted with what he and his agent consider lowball offers from MLB teams, signed a one year deal in Japan, had a monster season over there, and come back to the U.S. next season. Seems like there was another large slugging 1B with the same last name who had at least one monster season over in Japan…

Obviously unrealistic, but it would be kind of awesome, right?

Dreamin
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Dreamin
4 years 8 months ago

Like father, like son, eh? Though I think emulating big Cecil is pretty much the last thing Prince wants to do.

roger
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roger
4 years 8 months ago

This is a pretty silly article and it easilly could have been written about Beltre a year ago. You have no idea what offers Fielder has or will have. I’ll bet he ends up with a huge contract.

Johnny Slick
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Johnny Slick
4 years 8 months ago

I wonder what this deal cost Fielder on the market. Whether Chicago was actually pursuing him or not, the rumors floating around were that they were (see: Rosenthal) and the threat of them entering “just because it’s a good idea” could easily have enticed teams to overpay so that Theo wouldn’t change his mind about the situation. Now that the Cubs have a 1B, that door is pretty well closed I’d say.

So, just tossing a number out there… $10M. I have no data to back this up but I say that Chicago leaving for sure before a deal got hammered out cost Fielder $10M. Dave, does your idea about a Mariners contract for Fielder (backloaded with an opt-out deal right before the backloading gets fierce) still work in a completely Chicago-less Fielder field?

Plantier Forever
Guest
Plantier Forever
4 years 8 months ago

Let us not forget the elephant in the room: Prince Fielder is an elephant. His girth might at any time simply crush his knees and ankles. He is guaranteed to age badly. He is a bad risk for even 3 years, let alone 8-10. Mo Vaughn, anyone?

maqman
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maqman
4 years 8 months ago

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if nobody offered him a significant contract? Bad for Boras but good for baseball.

Baltar
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Baltar
4 years 8 months ago

I like your idea. It couldn’t happen to two more deserving guys than Boras and Fielder.
However, if no big deal comes thru, they will undoubtedly settle for a one-year waiting deal. If Fielder then fares well this year, he will get a near-Pujols deal next year. If he doesn’t do well . . .

Trotter76
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Trotter76
4 years 8 months ago

Didn’t Boras already lose big with Madson? Maybe he’s losing his touch…

CircleChange11
Guest
4 years 8 months ago

It’s also possible that the Cubs could use Rizzo as negotiating leverage for Fielder to lower the price and/or years.

Fielder is still going to get good money because he’s good. This isn’t Adam LaRoche. He just may not get a Pujols deal.

StL didn’t have to give Albert 250M because they had an alternative, but they did offer him 200M.

If the Cubs can get Fielder for 100/5, are they really going to say “Naw, we have Rizzo”?

I also don’t understand the comments that Prince could sign a 1y deal and price something. What does he have to prove that he hasn’t proved already.

My guess is that there are 3-5 teams highly interested in seeing if his # of years decreases. If getting Prince for 5 years instead of 8-10 because you have a 1ab alternative, then mission accomplished.

As ST nears, teams may get more desperate or they may just be watching to see how the demands change. I think CHC, TOR, WAS, and perhaps SEA and ARZ are watching intently. They won’t pass on a 5 WAR 1B for 5-6 year deal because they have a 2 WAR 1B already on the team.

TEX also has to do something to counter the WAR LAA has added. I”m sure TEX and their fans noticed that LAA added Pujols and took their ace. TOR and TEX seem like the best fits. TOR needs to do something during the “Bautista years” and TEX could have all sorts of options with Nap, Young, and Fielder as DH/1B while Nap catches most of the time.

bill
Guest
bill
4 years 8 months ago

Its surprising how much Fielder helps the Rangers, even if only as a platoon player. Consider, last year Fielder was good for 40 wRAA more than Moreland, versus RHP. Subtract the difference in UZR, and you have 3-4 wins pretty easily.

channelclemente
Guest
4 years 8 months ago

I’m convinced it’s those 3 months with 130 degrees plus on the Field that give Boras pause about Arlington.

Harv
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Harv
4 years 8 months ago

If Boras called Mark A (Brewers owner) and asked for one year at 20 million it would happen

Will
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Will
4 years 8 months ago

If Boras called anyone in the world with that offer, it would happen.

mc
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mc
4 years 8 months ago

If I’m the Giants, Rangers or Rays, I offer him a 3/$100mil deal.

channelclemente
Guest
4 years 8 months ago

Why woud Fielder ever want to play at AT&T? He’s hit about .200 their over the last 3 years and is famous for long, majestic flyball outs. If he’s got any sense he’ll beach himself at Arlington for 3 years and enjoy that wind tunnel to RCF. After that, even Boras might get 6-7 at top dollar from some other poor schlub in Chicago.

Justin
Guest
Justin
4 years 8 months ago

If I recall, there are quite a few players in the last couple years that were Boras clients that he held out on and ended up signing much smaller contracts then they might have gotten if they would have signed later on. It seems like in the changing climate of the last few years Boras’ strategy hasn’t always worked out as well. I have no concrete evidence to back this up (Varitek?) but it would be an interesting article to research.

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