As the Prince Fielder saga (at what point do things become “a saga”?) drags on longer than folks expected, with little in the way of hard reports of offers, it’s easy to let the speculation run wild.
Perhaps that, or some poorly-sourced information, led Peter Gammons yesterday to claim that “several GMs think [Fielder's agent Scott] Boras could do a 3 year Prince deal at $26M per year, [and then] go back on the market at 30 and beat Pujols’ AAV.” ESPN’s Buster Olney chimed in, “confirming” that some GMs “think Fielder should sign a pricey three-year deal.”
Great news, right? The Cubs – or Fielder’s other suitors – could have him exclusively for his prime years, with no commitment thereafter.
But, strangely, could a three-year deal be too short for the Cubs? For a team most – including me – believe would bid on Fielder only if he were willing to accept a “short-term” deal, it’s hard to say the Cubs would be out on Fielder because he didn’t want more than three years. It’s understandable why they might be, though: with a window of competitiveness that might not open until after 2012, the years a “good” Cubs team might have Fielder could be limited to one or two if he came on a three-year deal.
We could go on about what would be the sweet spot for the Cubs – four years? five? six? – but Fielder’s agent did his best to make the discussion academic.
When asked about the reports that his client might consider a high dollar three-year deal, Boras was firm in his denial.
“Not only is that inaccurate and delusional,” Boras said to ESPNChicago, “but it seems that some people have gotten into their New Year’s Eve stash just a little bit early this year.”
And then the man known for inventing “mystery teams” and using the ensuing media frenzy to his advantage when his clients aren’t seeing the market they’d like, added a dig.
“It appears some baseball people are just bored,” Boras said. “That’s when you hear ideas like that floated.”
Whateves. Maybe we are bored.
The Rangers, among about five or six other teams, remain in the mix, for what it’s worth, which could open up any number of ancillary transactions (the most obvious of which, at least as it concerns the Cubs, is the renewed availability of young first baseman, Mitch Moreland). The Brewers, on the other hand, remain largely on the outside looking in, however much Fielder’s price might drop.
Whether the Cubs are more like the Rangers or the Brewers is unknown. I stick to what I’ve said all along: if Fielder is willing to consider a five-year deal, the Cubs will consider making a competitive five-year offer. If, on the other hand, he sticks to his seven to ten-year demand – and a team steps up into that range – the Cubs will be out.