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MLB Free Agents 2012: Top Contenders for Prince Fielder

Steven ConklinCorrespondent IINovember 1, 2011

MLB Free Agents 2012: Top Contenders for Prince Fielder

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    After batting .299 with 38 homers and 120 RBI in 2011, Prince Fielder will be one of the most sought after free agents this winter.

    Unfortunately for the slugger, Albert Pujols is also testing free agency, and this deflects a lot of the attention Fielder could have gotten to Pujols.

    However, Fielder can still count on one thing: He is getting paid.

    With the evil mastermind Scott Boras as his agent, the 27-year-old is surely going to get a big deal and will most likely be making at least $20 million a year.

    Don't be surprised if the contract length is between seven and 10 years, either.

    Obviously, the question right now is all about where Prince Fielder will be playing next spring. He has said 2011 was probably his final year in Milwaukee, but the Brewers, of course, still stand a chance.

    Here is (in no particular order) an in-depth look at the top contenders to add Prince Fielder.

Chicago Cubs

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    The idea of Prince Fielder going to the Chicago Cubs is getting more difficult to imagine every day.

    Theo Epstein hasn't exactly seemed to be in favor of coming in and spending the money for a big superstar like Fielder or Albert Pujols.

    Fielder, though, did hint at wanting to play in a Cubs uniform.

    Why wouldn't he?

    He would have the chance to be seen as a savior if a title came to Chicago, and with a small park like Wrigley Field, hitting home runs would be easier for Prince. This makes the Cubs a legitimate option.

    If the Cubs don't re-sign Aramis Ramirez, this team could be the worst in baseball in 2012.

    However, adding Fielder could be the best decision Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer make as Cubs executives.

    A combination of Starlin Castro, Prince Fielder and Aramis Ramirez would be very scary.

    He could be well worth the $150-200 million.

Texas Rangers

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    "Everything's bigger in Texas."

    Prince Fielder would certainly support the popular saying.

    In fact, the Rangers lineup would be near complete with the addition of Fielder. Mitch Moreland certainly isn't their guy, and he proved that in the postseason.

    This would also give the Rangers a lefty bat, which they've shown a need for.

    After losing two consecutive World Series, Texas will surely be looking to make a splash and finally get it right this time.

    With Prince Fielder in the lineup, that would mean Nelson Cruz might be hitting in the seventh spot. On most other teams, Cruz would probably be a cleanup guy.

    If the Rangers want that first World Series celebration, they're going to need get better.

Washington Nationals

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    The Washington Nationals are excited about 2012, and they have every right to be.

    Manager Davey Johnson has been retained, and the phenom Stephen Strasburg will be healthy. Bryce Harper could be in the bigs next year as well.

    Washington has expressed interest in bringing in some new guys via free agency, and Prince Fielder should be high on the team's list.

    If Jayson Werth bounces back, the tandem could be scary along with Harper and Ryan Zimmerman.

    It is nonsense to believe Fielder would do what Werth did in 2011. He's a much better player, and the contract Werth received was ridiculous.

    Michael Morse occupied first base in 2011 and had a surprisingly great season, but he is just as well off playing in left field.

    Prince Fielder would be great at first for the Nationals.

Seattle Mariners

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    Of all the teams eying Prince Fielder this winter, the Seattle Mariners will probably receive laughs when mentioned.

    After only finishing better than the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins, the Mariners certainly have some work to do.

    However, the Mariners have a bright future.

    King Felix and Michael Pineda remain, and they have a super prospect in Danny Hultzen, the second overall pick this past June. Former No. 2 pick Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak and Franklin Gutierrez are also great assets.

    The acquisition of Prince Fielder would boost the Mariners tremendously in their rebuilding process.

    Ichiro now looks like nothing of what he was. It is time for a new top hitter.

    Seattle can spend the money and would be happy to do so if Fielder wants to DH. Don't forget this: GM Jack Zduriencik drafted Prince Fielder in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    By default, Milwaukee must be on this list.

    As mentioned, Prince Fielder stated he's likely to leave the Brewers. However, the Brewers might still be able to bring the slugger back, given some help from superstar Ryan Braun.

    Personally, I don't believe Milwaukee should bring him back.

    Jose Reyes will be on the market, and a shortstop like Reyes isn't always within reach. The money would be spent well there.

    But, if the Brewers somehow retain Prince, he will obviously produce. The duo of Braun and Fielder is an exceptional one that National League Central teams would love to see split.

    With Fielder, the Brew Crew can be optimistic they'd play in October again in 2012 and hope it ends better.

San Francisco Giants

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    After winning the World Series in 2010, this season was quite disappointing for San Francisco. The Arizona Diamondbacks came out of nowhere to steal the playoff spot.

    Aubrey Huff is not the guy in the Bay Area, and Prince Fielder would be a great fit for the Giants. Born in California, it isn't hard to imagine the big guy heading out west.

    The Giants already have a superb pitching staff. Fielder would boost a lineup that has had trouble supporting those pitchers.

    If Pablo Sandoval hit well alongside Fielder, San Francisco might find itself playing in October again.

    Of course, if Buster Posey moves to first base like some expect, then pursuing Prince Fielder wouldn't be a great idea by the Giants.

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