In Major League Baseball, it is rare for a player of Prince Fielder's stature to be on the market this late in the free agent process. His list of potential suitors has never really developed, at least not publicly, like he and Scott Boras were hoping. One team that you can scratch off the list are the Texas Rangers.
According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, the Rangers are unlikely to sign both Fielder and pitcher Yu Darvish. Even though the team is still negotiating with Darvish and has until 5:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday to sign him, there is no reason to think the two sides won't reach an agreement.
The Rangers were willing to meet with Fielder because they wanted to have a backup plan in place in case a deal with Darvish did not get done. There is still a remote possibility that negotiations with Darvish fall through. In that case, Texas might turn its attention to Fielder.
But club officials continued to stress that the Rangers don't plan on signing both Darvish and Fielder. The team has made it clear that its focus is on pitching, and it expects to sign Darvish by Wednesday.
Fielder and Boras have to kick negotiations with teams into gear. The Rangers always made sense because they had an obvious hole at first base, and had money to spend.
Now, there are no obvious destinations for Fielder. The Washington Nationals were talked about for a long time, and could still be the odds-on-favorite to sign him, but there is no indication that they are willing to pay top dollar to bring him in.
If You Were Running The Rangers, Which Player Would You Sign?
Another club that has been talked about was the Seattle Mariners, but they just acquired Jesus Montero and have Justin Smoak to play first base. Those two players combined will make about a $1-2 million in 2012.
Plus, there were reports that Seattle's interest in Fielder was being overblown from the start.
Granted, everything that we hear is basically garbage just being used by teams and agents to drive a player's price up or down, but the fact that no one has stepped up to make a serious offer that gets Fielder to sign is telling.
He is just 27 years old, is one of the best hitters in Major League Baseball and should be a hot commodity. Instead, he and Boras are going to have to pull a rabbit out of their hat if they want to get an eight-year contract for $160 million.
Darvish's negotiations are going to have a dramatic effect on where Fielder signs, and unless something shocking happens, Fielder won't be playing for Texas.