The Prince of Baltimore?


As was reported by Roch Kubatko of, Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette told MASN earlier today that there was an interest in free agent first baseman Prince Fielder on the part of the O’s. However Duquette’s statement came with a disclaimer; he won’t get into a bidding war for Fielder, and he doesn’t want to get fans’ hopes too high. So that’s sort of a mixed message in a way. The other way to look at it is that you should never take what a GM or coach says to the media about a situation like this at more than face value.

The first big question is whether or not Prince Fielder is worth the coin that he’s ultimately going to get from someone. From the Orioles’ perspective, that’s an interesting question. Duquette was on MLB Network’s Quick Pitch show this morning, and he made mention of the fact that the O’s were in the middle of the pack in runs scored (in 2011), but towards the bottom in runs allowed. So in other words, would it really make sense to add a player like Fielder given that scoring runs wasn’t necessarily the problem? When you’re talking about a player the caliber of Fielder, it probably does. Well, it definitely does. If Prince Fielder was an NFL player, they’d call him a gamechanger. We’re talking about a guy that can hit big bop after big bop out of Camden Yards, especially with that short porch in right field. So perhaps it’s not how many runs you score, but when you score them.

My point is that Fielder is a guy that’s consistently been able to rise to the occasion when the game was on the line, much as we’ve seen the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez, and Kevin Youkilis do against the O’s over time. Furthermore, Fielder wouldn’t be another case of the O’s picking up a veteran that’s made waves in the past with another team. Fielder’s 27 years old (he’ll be 28 in May), and while he’s made waves with another team he’s probably just now entering his prime.

So am I in favor of sacrificing pitching for Prince Fielder? I’m not sure that’s the term to use, however I wouldn’t want the Orioles to spend ridiculously sick money on him either. I suspect that the O’s would still be able to make upgrades to the pitching staff (Mark Buerle anyone?) while signing Fielder to a deal. The other questions is what Fielder’s motives are in this. Many players that sign with the Yankees and Red Sox do so claiming that they want to win a championship. It just so happens that Mark Texeira, Carl Crawford, Alex Rodriguez, and Manny Ramirez went to the highest suitors at the time. However last year we also saw Jayson Werth signing with Washington for top dollar; you can’t argue that the Nats were going to contend for a title this year. So where does Prince Fielder stand on this? Nobody really knows for sure, but given the fact that his agent is Scott Boras I would presume that he’s looking for money.

Of course if you’re Boston or NY you can court someone based on money and based on the fact that you’re going to be in contention. However one area where the O’s would have the upper hand in this case would be the fact that both of those teams already have first basemen. Granted Fielder could DH as well, however he’s said on numerous occasions that he doesn’t want to do that regularly.

Ultimately we can hash this out until we’re blue in the face, but until we hear of Fielder signing somewhere it’s all a moot issue. I wouldn’t be shocked if he didn’t sign this week either. Duquette indicated that he thought that the market might be softening for Fielder, however again that might be GM-speak. My gut says that he doesn’t come to Baltimore, and if that happens there’ll be people that’ll decry that the Orioles aren’t serious about winning since they didn’t want to open up the coffers for Fielder. One player a winner does not make folks.

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