Prince Fielder Isn’t Walking Through That Door
By Todd Kaufmann
Prince Fielder isn’t walking into Rangers Ballpark in Arlington no matter how hard you wish for it. He and his agent, Scott Boras, aren’t walking into Nolan Ryan’s office begging them to sign him to anything they’d be willing to pay him.
Over the past few months, rumors began flying about the possibility of Fielder signing with the Texas Rangers. The only thing most fans, and media alike, knew was the Rangers were among several teams interested in landing the former Milwaukee Brewers’ first baseman. The winter meetings in Dallas rolled around the rumors became even hotter.
By the time most of the agents, owners, general managers, and those involved in the four day event, fans still held out hope that the Rangers were going to sign the big time free agent. The feeling became even more urgent after their AL West rival, the Los Angeles Angels, signed not only former Ranger C.J. Wilson but also the most coveted free agent, Albert Pujols.
Those two signings set off a fire storm of remarks from fans through every bit of social media they could find. They wanted a response and the only name any of them wanted was Fielder himself. It didn’t matter what he wanted, this was the only way to respond to these two signings.
Yet the Rangers’ front office sat back and they waited. The names they had been interested in they let sign with other teams. Fans couldn’t understand what they were doing or why they were letting the Angels get all the media attention. What were they doing and why were they sitting on their hands?
They couldn’t possibly be standing pat with what the had? Could they?
A few weeks after the winter meetings concluded the Rangers made the move that onlya few people believed they would move. Through the last few years, at least according to general manger Jon Daniels, the Texas Rangers had scouted Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish. During this past season the Rangers had someone in their organization at every one of his starts.
After the bidding period ended, rumors flew that it wasn’t the Rangers who were the top bidders. Instead most were talking about the Toronto Blue Jays. Even their own fans began to believe it.
When the announcement came, it shocked not only those in Toronto but also those in Dallas/Ft Worth. The team who had spent so much time scouting him is the team that ended up winning the bid-by a long shot.
The Rangers now have 30 days to negotiate a contract with Darvish or he returns to Japan for another season.
Until those negotiations come to a close or the two sides come to an agreement, whichever comes first, the conversations still center around the guy they want the most. And no matter how many times they hear their team is committed to current first baseman, Mitch Moreland, or they have no interest in signing Fielder.
Early reports prior to the winter meetings had Fielder’s asking price somewhere around eight to ten years and in the neighborhood of $200 million. Rangers’ CEO Nolan Ryan, when asked about their interest in Fielder, told the media “we as an organization aren’t comfortable signing any player to that kind of a contract.”
Daniels also weighed in when asked by the local Dallas/Ft Worth media while at the Hilton Anatole Hotel during the winter meetings telling them Fielder wasn’t a fit.
But no matter how many times someone like Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports or Nolan Ryan himself say they have no interest in Prince Fielder, the more people continue to believe it’s nothing more than a “smokescreen.” The only time the rumors about their interest, or conversations about why he’s the better choice over Moreland, will die is when Fielder signs on the dotten line with a team other than the Texas Rangers themselves.
As much as people don’t want to hear they won’t get what they want, the big time slugger won’t be signing with Texas and he won’t be donning a Texas Rangers’ uniform before a press conference at Rangers Ballpark.
They are committed to Mitch Moreland and, with him entering the 2012 season completely healthy after dealing with tendinitis in his wrist. While he’s not going to give the Rangers the same kind of production Prince Fielder would, this team won’t need 30 or more home runs or 100 runs batted in. They have guys who can do that.
Jon Daniels made it clear during a post season press conference they were going to focus on pitching. It failed them during the last World Series and it’s something this front office wanted to make sure they addressed.
Offense isn’t what failed this team during the past World Series. It’s not what’s going to keep them out of the playoffs in 2012.