With Albert Pujols off the market it is now Prince Fielder's time to sign—and earn his own mega-deal. Scott Boras will undoubtedly press to net his client Fielder something in the neighborhood of the 10 years and $254 million that Pujols received from the Angels.
At this juncture, it seems that teams are waiting for Boras' demands to ease up and Fielder's price tag to drop, as ESPN.com's Buster Olney tweeted on Wednesday. In other words, no one's eager to sink the kind of money and years into Fielder that Arte Moreno just did with Phat Albert.
Market corrections aside, though, Fielder remains the best available free-agent bat. He will go somewhere and he will cost a ton. Bill Madden of the New York Daily News writes that Boras just needs to play his usual game of greasing up the market for his clients enough for one owner to splurge and be, as Madden describes them, "One Dumb Owner."
Who might that lone dummy be? Here are the latest rumors on the ten teams in the hunt for Prince Fielder and their respective chances of signing him.
Might the Cardinals look to plug the hole left behind by Albert Pujols with Prince Fielder? Fat chance.
The Cardinals reportedly offered Pujols five years and $130 million, so it's hard to figure St. Louis will offer Fielder anything north of that, making them an unlikely candidate in the Fielder sweepstakes.
The Cards already have Lance Berkman so it seems that he'll play first and they'll look to replace Pujols' bats chiefly through the maturation of their younger players and/or cheaper free-agent options.
The Brewers appear to be out of the running for Fielder, as Brewers' GM Doug Melvin said after signing Aramis Ramirez earlier this month.
Ramirez's deal and the pending expense of an arbitration case with Francisco Rodriguez have pretty much locked up the Brewers heading toward next season.
That said, it's hard to completely count out the Brewers. But their chances of retaining Fielder are slim to none.
The Yankees have not been a prominent suitor for Fielder thus far. But it seems foolish to discount New York: they have the money and they have the room in their lineup, with no clear DH option in 2012.
The Yankees, however, have not been particularly aggressive on the free-agent market this winter. These aren't the Yankees of 10 years ago when reckless signings were the norm.
That said, the Yankees are still the Yankees.
Orioles' GM Dan Duquette has been pretty mum on the prospects of luring Fielder to Baltimore.
While the Orioles probably need more than just one big bat to change their losing ways, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman tweeted Tuesday that both Duquette and Orioles' owner Peter Angelos "like stars." He figures that Baltimore is still in the hunt for Fielder.
Plus, Angelos is an excellent canidadate to be that "One Dumb Owner," to refer back to Bill Madden.
The Marlins have proven they're players this offseason, locking up Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle. Is there enough cash left for the Fish to make a run at Fielder?
Maybe. But, even if the Marlins have the means of netting Prince, Jeffrey Loria's line, per Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, is that Miami is not interested in Fielder.
Are the Marlins bluffing? Probably not. Miami is keen on their young bats and probably more eager to add bullpen arms as opposed to beefing up an already solid lineup.
Fielder knows where the Mariners stand, as CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman tweets that Seattle made the slugger an offer on Tuesday.
Gauging the Mariners is pretty easy: they love Fielder, but they don't have much to spend on him. Many other teams would need to drop out of the running for Fielder to even seriously consider Seattle.
The Rangers would love to bolster their lineup with Fielder, and this remains the case even with their involvement with Yu Darvish.
Texas will not offer as much as some of their clubs, but they'll remain in the hunt and are legitimate players. Other teams will likely outbid them though, so Texas doesn't seem to be the most logical destination for Fielder, but it remains a very real possibility.
The Blue Jays are eager to make an immediate push in the AL East with Jose Bautista clearly in the prime of his career. The Blue Jays were also willing to commit to Yu Darvish so why wouldn't they be true players for someone like Fielder?
Adding Prince would be a neat signing for Toronto. His dad, Cecil, cut his big league teeth with the Jays back in the 1980s.
Toronto is probably the most serious AL suitor for Fielder. The extra security of DH-ing and the comfort of playing for another dome team could help convince Prince to chose the Blue Jays.
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman writes that the Nationals are keeping a "low profile" in their pursuit of Fielder. Fielder isn't an obvious fit for the team, with Mike Morse and Adam LaRoche both on the roster, however neither of these guys is Fielder.
The Nats shelled out for Jayson Werth last winter and courted Albert Pujols. Spending big for Fielder may not be the smartest move for Washington, however they are certainly a possible destination.
The Cubs are an interesting team to get a hold of. The team certainly has the drive, and the resources to get a deal done for Fielder. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are no strangers to negotiating with Scott Boras.
At the same time, the Cubs may be headed for a "total rebuild," as David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com wrote on Wednesday. If this is true, Prince would seem to be a terrible fit on the North Side.
At the same time, there are plentiful reports heralding the Cubs as favorites for Fielder.
Epstein has never shown an aversion to signing expensive free agents, so it may not be that strange to see Chicago sign Fielder but also pursue an aggressive rebuilding plan with the intention of seriously competing for a title on the back end of a long-term deal for Fielder.