BY Steve Rudman & Art Thiel 04:22PM 01/20/2012

Montero good, but he’s not close to Fielder

The Yu Darvish signing by Texas doesn’t mean that Seattle’s chances of landing free agent slugger Prince Fielder have increased. In fact, quite the contrary.

Prince Fielder still hasn't found a 2012 team, and the Mariners no longer seem to be in the running. / Wiki Commons

Art Thiel and Steve Rudman of Sportspress Northwest discuss the Prince Fielder situation in the wake of the Texas Rangers signing Japanese stud pitcher Yu Darvish for more than $100 million. Where does this leave the Mariners? And are the Rangers still in play?

STEVE: After the Texas Rangers made an $111 commitment to Yu Darvish the other day, their GM, Jon Daniels, said another big investment — such as Prince Fielder — is “very unlikely.”

A lot of people I’ve talked to since Darvish signed seem to believe this means the Mariners’ chances of landing Fielder have increased. I don’t think so, even though I’d like to see it happen.

ART: I don’t think the Mariners ever wanted to engage in this sweepstakes, but were forced by the pressure of their previous failures to go through some careful motions. It’s possible that Fielder could be a once-in-a-generation veteran free agent who has overplayed the market and falls back within reach of the Mariners. But it’s also possible Newt Gingrich will be mistaken for Tom Hanks.

The acquisition of Jesus Montero is not a game-changer; it merely will take a little edge off the considerable fan contempt felt this off-season.

STEVE: Landing Fielder would create the kind of magnum buzz that hasn’t happened since the Mariners signed Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson in December of 2004.

Face it: The Mariners need some buzz. But I think Fielder will sign with Washington or Texas, and I think Texas is the favorite because it has a recent history of creative solutions.

ART: Rangers President Nolan Ryan was on Randy Galloway’s radio show in the Metroplex Thursday, after the Rangers just spent magnum coin on salary and a posting fee for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish.

Ryan was a little coy, but I think something’s up. Here’s what he said: “When you think you’re out of something, you get up the next day and find out opportunities exist.”

He cited the Cliff Lee trade, saying the Rangers went to sleep the night before thinking the New York Yankees had a trade with Seattle for Lee basically done: “We got up the next morning and found out that didn’t develop quite as it had been reported, and we got back on the phone and were able to get it done.”

As with Lee, Ryan has a lust for winning and drama. He wants to make it happen, and after all, this is Texas, where narcissism and pro sports ownership (Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones) go together like guns and pickups.

STEVE: Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras, has always talked in generalities about an eight-to-10-year contract at $180-$200 million for Fielder. But the Rangers could offer Fielder what Fielder expects — about $18 million annually — over three years with an opt out.

That would give Fielder an opportunity become a free agent again at 30. Or, Boras could backload a deal and pay for it out of increased media revenues Texas will start getting in four years. Seattle could offer something similar, but Texas can offer a team that has appeared in two straight World Series.

ART: Use of the opt-out is an old Boras trick to get what he wants. Even if Fielder ends up with fewer dollars than a Seattle offer, the park is hitter friendly and Dallas is a two-hour-and-change flight to his Florida home. What is the the Mariners’ counter-punch to the two Series and the addition of Darvish? The 2001 season and newly signed Oliver Perez, who didn’t play in the majors last year.

STEVE: My, we’re getting chippy. Don’t forget the Mariners can now add an occasional ice storm to the package. Now let me digress a bit: A couple of weeks ago, I pointed out on Sportspress Northwest the reasons I felt Fielder would not want to play in Seattle.

Many readers heaped heavy trash in my direction for even bringing up the subject — as if nobody ever thought about it before. Let me clarify: I didn’t say I didn’t want Fielder to play here, only that I would have serious reservations if I stood in his shoes. From my perspective, I’d love to see Fielder sign with the Mariners. Big-time sluggers are fun, even if they flop.

ART: The people who took you for a buzzkill are so wrapped around the Fielder axle that they don’t want to hear it isn’t going to happen. They want to believe that a lefty slugger’s career numbers at Safeco, while marginally better that right-handers, is a fact that makes a difference. No. It isn’t. From Griffey to Martinez to Cameron to Buhner to Sexson to Beltre, sluggers regardless of their batter’s-box preference will testify that Safeco is no place a slugger wants to play nine division road games, much less 81 home games.

STEVE: Too bad. The garlic fries are great. So, are you saying that we will enter the season with an uptick in interest because of Montero, a fond memory of 2001, and a hope that Oliver Perez will become the Comeback Player of the Year?

ART: I’m saying that Montero has a good chance to be a nice DH, almost no chance in 2012 to fix the hole at catcher, Pineda will win 17 games for the Yanks, a lot of 3-2 defeats, and the Angels and Rangers will have locked themselves into a two-team AL West division race by Earth Day April 22.


YourThoughts

  • J & M

    its not like the Rangers came in and swooped over a less Mariner bid for Yu Darvish. The Mariners didn’t even bid on Darvish! They need to step it up and do what it takes to land Fielder or face a near-empty Safeco Field. 

  • J & M

    its not like the Rangers came in and swooped over a less Mariner bid for Yu Darvish. The Mariners didn’t even bid on Darvish! They need to step it up and do what it takes to land Fielder or face a near-empty Safeco Field. 

  • HungerGatherer

    Mariners ownership has no desire to compete for a championship. The Fielder “pursuit” is nothing more than a stunt to appease a rapidly dwindling fan base and make us all think they are trying… I feel bad for Jackie Z. He’s totally hamstrung and deserves the support of the fans for doing as well as he has.

  • HungerGatherer

    Mariners ownership has no desire to compete for a championship. The Fielder “pursuit” is nothing more than a stunt to appease a rapidly dwindling fan base and make us all think they are trying… I feel bad for Jackie Z. He’s totally hamstrung and deserves the support of the fans for doing as well as he has.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone signing a Boras player is a fool. The Mariner list starts and should end with A-Rod.
    Of course, never put anything past the two losers, Lincoln and Armstrong, who have presided over the Mariners’ sprint to obscurity.

  • 1coolguy

    Anyone signing a Boras player is a fool. The Mariner list starts and should end with A-Rod.
    Of course, never put anything past the two losers, Lincoln and Armstrong, who have presided over the Mariners’ sprint to obscurity.

  • Guest

    Building a winner the old-fashioned way is a hard and sometimes painful process, but Zduriencik is doing the right thing by stockpiling young talent at the minor league level.  I hated to see Fister go, but Wells and Robinson are good prospects (I’m not sold on Furbush yet…too inconsistent).  Zduriencik had to deal Lee or get nothing after his contract ran out, but some of the guys we got from Texas have promise.  Plus we already had guys like Taijuan Walker, Nick Franklin, Alex Liddi, etcetera, in the system.  The cupboard isn’t as bare as it was when Bavasi left, but these ARE kids and it’s going to take time.

    I’m sick of the losing, too, but we’ve already seen what happens when the Mariners rely on that one big signing to make things right the last few years: It hasn’t worked because it’s like applying an expensive band-aid to a broken leg.  I’d rather see $25 million go toward signing 3 or 4 everyday players who’ll be a good fit in a pitcher’s park…or better yet, spend some of it continuing to scout, sign and develop our own players.

    If you’re a real Mariners fan, you’ll be at Safeco this summer even if they don’t sign Fielder.

  • Guest

    Building a winner the old-fashioned way is a hard and sometimes painful process, but Zduriencik is doing the right thing by stockpiling young talent at the minor league level.  I hated to see Fister go, but Wells and Robinson are good prospects (I’m not sold on Furbush yet…too inconsistent).  Zduriencik had to deal Lee or get nothing after his contract ran out, but some of the guys we got from Texas have promise.  Plus we already had guys like Taijuan Walker, Nick Franklin, Alex Liddi, etcetera, in the system.  The cupboard isn’t as bare as it was when Bavasi left, but these ARE kids and it’s going to take time.

    I’m sick of the losing, too, but we’ve already seen what happens when the Mariners rely on that one big signing to make things right the last few years: It hasn’t worked because it’s like applying an expensive band-aid to a broken leg.  I’d rather see $25 million go toward signing 3 or 4 everyday players who’ll be a good fit in a pitcher’s park…or better yet, spend some of it continuing to scout, sign and develop our own players.

    If you’re a real Mariners fan, you’ll be at Safeco this summer even if they don’t sign Fielder.

  • Snailmail

    There are no real Mariner fans left, except perhaps you. How many games did you go to last year?

  • Snailmail

    There are no real Mariner fans left, except perhaps you. How many games did you go to last year?

  • Caribou

    The M’s got taken to the cleaners in the Pineda – Montero trade. Both may be unproven but a DH for what may be a consistent 20 game winner (this would require some offense see Prince Fielder, no trade required). Only a “farm club” would make a trade like this – all world series teams have had a one-two pitching punch and the M’s gave away their number two. About the up and comings -  by the time these pitchers have reached a stage of major league development our number one pitcher will likely be gone! If somehow Fielder is acquired it may help soften the Pineda blow and at least make the M’s competitive. If the ownership fails to at least make a real attempt at obtaining Fielder – myself and I’m sure many other fans are done. After all the team is already out of contention as they currently stand. I may be wrong, the A’s may battle for last place but I’m sure the M’s can deliver that to the fans without the A’s help.

  • Caribou

    The M’s got taken to the cleaners in the Pineda – Montero trade. Both may be unproven but a DH for what may be a consistent 20 game winner (this would require some offense see Prince Fielder, no trade required). Only a “farm club” would make a trade like this – all world series teams have had a one-two pitching punch and the M’s gave away their number two. About the up and comings -  by the time these pitchers have reached a stage of major league development our number one pitcher will likely be gone! If somehow Fielder is acquired it may help soften the Pineda blow and at least make the M’s competitive. If the ownership fails to at least make a real attempt at obtaining Fielder – myself and I’m sure many other fans are done. After all the team is already out of contention as they currently stand. I may be wrong, the A’s may battle for last place but I’m sure the M’s can deliver that to the fans without the A’s help.

  • Puckmjf

    I know this is fun to BS and write aobut but there has NEVEr been any reason to belive that the fat man would EVER play for Seattle. I know writers will have fun childishly ripping Jack but Fielder was NEVER interested in playing here, never….what a crock!

    ANd thak GOD we dont bury 20% of our payroll in this guy…exciting, he could bring us to 80 wins!

  • Puckmjf

    I know this is fun to BS and write aobut but there has NEVEr been any reason to belive that the fat man would EVER play for Seattle. I know writers will have fun childishly ripping Jack but Fielder was NEVER interested in playing here, never….what a crock!

    ANd thak GOD we dont bury 20% of our payroll in this guy…exciting, he could bring us to 80 wins!

  • Scott

    I stopped reading this article at, “Landing Fielder would create the kind of magnum buzz that hasn’t happened since the Mariners signed Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson…”

    I mean, Beltre was mediocre and Sexton was a bust, so based on that yardstick, I would say avoid Fielder like the plague.