MLB Free Agent News: 5 Reasons Seattle Mariners Won't Go After Prince Fielder
The Mariners have been a power-deprived team for too long, and the fans have grown weary.
The trade deadline came and went without serious talk of a trade; probably because no one wanted to deal with the gargantuan sum of money owed to him at the end of this season. However, trade talks and free-agent discussions are beginning to heat back up.
Fielder's one-year contract is up at the end of this year, so he's a logical target for the M's as a free agent this offseason. The Brewers haven't said that they don't want him, but it's likely that he'd cost them quite a bit of dough.
Here are five reasons why the Mariners will not be in the bidding war for the slugger.
There's No Room for Him
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Often, when a slugger is too clumsy to play in the field, the manager sticks him at first base. All he has to do is catch the ball and hit home runs. The creation of the designated hitter spot made it even easier for mangers in the American League to load up on brutish, hard-hitting calamities in the field.
Prince Fielder has been labeled as one of those guys. A move to the AL would open up an extra spot for Fielder, but the Mariners still won't have room.
Justin Smoak has the job at first base pretty tightly locked up for next season, barring any further ailment or bereavement. He's younger than Fielder, with nearly as much potential for power and average.
At DH is the suddenly famous Big Fish, Mike Carp. Carp just lost a 20-game hit streak last night against the Indians, but he maintained a 30-game on-base streak, good for longest in the majors.
As ESPN's Steve Berthiaume astutely noted, Carp's streak tied Kevin Bass and Tim Salmon for the longest by a player with a fishy last name.
During that hit streak, Carp has ravaged opposing pitchers with inspiring efficiency. There's no reason Carp would cede to Fielder when he's so much cheaper and already in Seattle. Carp also plays left field, but Trayvon Robinson and Casper Wells have the outfield pretty nicely locked down in terms of fielding and hitting.
His Power Is No Longer Needed
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The main reason Fielder was necessary was the Mariners dismal display of power and hitting in general. Since Dustin Ackley's June call-up got the ball rolling, the M's have been hitting in a much prettier way.
Kyle Seager and Mike Carp were called up later and have both demonstrated potential. Trayvon Robinson and Casper Wells were acquired in deals at the trade deadline and have already put up solid numbers. Casper Wells has the third-highest home run total in the league since he came to the Mariners at the end of July.
Next year, Justin Smoak and Franklin Gutierrez should get back into their normal rhythms and produce a bit more pop than we've seen this year. Also next year, Ichiro will have a comeback year and return to original form.
If there are any shortcomings, Alex Liddi, Nick Franklin and Adam Moore are all eagerly awaiting a shot at a starting position in the bigs.
So, to all those people who said you can't fix a team with one guy, GM Jack Zduriencik must have taken that to heart. He's filled up the ranks with young, promising hitters who will put on an exciting show in the days to come.
The Mariners Would Have to Give Up Too Much
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Prince Fielder is very valuable to the Brewers right now. In the event of a highly unlikely trade to Seattle (it wouldn't be until next season after he's signed a short-term deal), the Brewers or whomever signs him would most likely ask for a lot—say, one or two of the Mariners' brilliant, young pitchers. The Mariners definitely don't want to give up any of those guys.
If that new team sought a replacement for Fielder, they might ask for Smoak or Carp, neither of whom is on the market. It would be foolish for the Mariners to give up a proven prospect for even a solid veteran. Where they are in development as a team does not lend itself to adding a couple key veterans in order to contend (aka, where the Red Sox are every year).
They are coming out of rebuilding, so they have to stick to their young guys and be patient. A playoff run is imminent.
He's Too Expensive
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Well this was clearly demonstrated by the historic one-year $15.5 million contract Fielder signed with Milwaukee for 2011.
His agent is Scott Boras. What else needs to be said?
He Doesn't Fit into the Grand Scheme
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When Jack Z took over from Bill Bavasi in 2008, he had a plan in mind. He has stuck to that plan since then, and it's beginning to pay off. His plan was to build the team from the ground, not relying on any external forces too heavily. His class of prospects is currently making its way into the majors, replacing the temps.
There have been a handful of minor alterations (or should I say altercations? Milton Bradley...) to the plan, but over the course of the next year, we should see the future lineup of the Mariners emerge. A lineup that, in theory, will remain relatively constant for a little while as the M's take a few stabs at the championship.
Adding Prince Fielder into that mix would only knock the plan off its axis and disrupt all the work Jack Z has put into the team.
Stick to the plan!