Because I’m a dirty, dirty whore for page clicks …
The quick and easy answer is: of course not! I don’t care if Boston, the Yankees, the Phillies, or the Dodgers are taking themselves out of the running; there will still be enough teams out there willing to out-spend one another to make this signing prohibitive.
The key to this whole thing is: he already turned down a 5-year, $100 million deal to re-sign with the Brewers. If he wasn’t willing to give a hometown discount to the team that drafted him and nurtured him up until this point, then it’s beyond clear no other team is going to get off so easy. ESPECIALLY the Mariners, because let’s face it, if you’re going to give a team a discount, it’s going to be because you want to win a World Series. As the Mariners aren’t a Prince Fielder away from even contending for an AL West title, I rest my case on that end.
(Of course, if we COULD get him for $20 million per year, then yes, I would probably sign him in a heartbeat).
Everyone seems to be talking about $25 million as the figure. But, I’m willing to bet even THAT is a lowball offer. I don’t think $30 million is out of the question, especially if some team gets REALLY desperate. You know what $30 million is? It’s a third of the Mariners’ budget last season (a budget that surely doesn’t look like it’s going any higher).
So, no, Prince Fielder for $25 OR $30 million just won’t do. Hell, I’m not even sure $20 million would work, but at least it’s getting warmer.
Of course, the budget thing has been played to death. There’s no way this team is increasing payroll, and as it stands we’ve already got Ichiro making $18 million and Figgins making $9 million. With Felix justifiably starting to make money in the $20 million range, you’d have four guys (if you included Fielder) making north of $70 million. Meaning you’d have to cram 21 other guys into less than $20 million worth of payroll. Yeah, you’re right, that’s insane! Especially when you figure $27 million of our overall payroll (Ichiro & Figgins) won’t be producing anywhere NEAR what their contracts would dictate (and also when you take into account I don’t think any hitter is worth $25 million by himself, unless he’s giving you Barry Bonds at his height of steroids-induced dominance).
And, of course, let us not forget the last time the Mariners made a huge free agent splash to boost production at the plate. It resulted in $114 million being spent on the likes of Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre. I know we all like Beltre, but there’s no way in hell he was worth $64 million; and Sexson was an abomination that cost us the other $50 mil. So, it’s hard not to be a little gun-shy about making a big free agent leap of faith when we’ve been burned so badly in the past. This, in conjunction with the fact that fans will riot if the Mariners DON’T make a huge free agent splash to bolster our hitting, and you’ve got a real nasty Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t thing going. Essentially, what this offseason amounts to is: Damned If Every Move Is Not Fucking Perfect.
And in the short-term, it’s hard to believe that signing Prince Fielder wouldn’t, in fact, BE perfect. You’re looking at a guy who has been a home run machine since he started playing everyday. He’s got six years under his belt of being one of the most dominant mashers in the Major Leagues. He’s 27 years old, so you have to figure – even at his weight – he’s PROBABLY got three good seasons in him before you have to worry about the inevitable decline. Of course, that’s “three good seasons” in some other city; in Seattle Years, Prince Fielder probably has one and a half good seasons.
Which means, in the long term, Prince Fielder would be just another albatross. Again, this is SEATTLE. We don’t sign guys to long-term deals and have unbridled success with them (unless they were guys we drafted originally and somehow nurtured into greatness). Seattle and Bringing-In-Free-Agents-From-Other-Teams are like oil and water. Except they’re more like Blood and Cancer Cells. It almost never works out.
But, that doesn’t mean Jackie Z shouldn’t try. After all, he’s got a job to try to preserve. He NEEDS to make a big move this offseason or he’s very much in jeopardy. The fans are already all the way off of this Mariners bandwagon; if he tries to come back with a bunch of lackluster names – no matter how prudent they may be for the long term health of this organization – he’s going to be run out of town before the All Star Break. No way he banks his career on the batch of crap we’ve already got on staff plus a few projects and money-savers from the free agent cesspool.
Prince Fielder might not make the Mariners all that much better in 2012 or in any of the other seven seasons we’d likely have to pony up for … but Prince Fielder could very well buy Jackie Z a few more years of gainful employment. And just imagine all those dingers he’d hit in his good 1.5 seasons at Safeco …
That having ALL been said, if I put it out of my mind, I can’t help but have a very small part of me that would be giddy if we did sign Fielder. A left handed beast, batting fourth in our lineup … it’s been SO LONG since we’ve had something that choice in our lineup! LOOK AT IT:
- Third Base
That gives me a big ol’ boner just thinking about it!
But, look, I’m not going to force myself into having a huge opinion on this thing. I think speculating on guys who MAY or MAY NOT come here is pretty fucking pointless. I like to reserve my opinions for after a guy has been signed (or, at least, when rumors are at a fever pitch just before signing).
To Fielder or Not To Fielder … I won’t be giving a shit until he makes up his fucking mind.