The last major free agent to yet to be signed is Prince Fielder. There has been a lot of talk recently about the length of Fielders contract, and how a lot of teams may not have the money or the desire to sign the first basemen for that long. Publicly, the Nationals have stated that unless something extraordinary happens, LaRoche is their first basemen next season. Something extraordinary could be signing Fielder, who a Player on the Nationals said that the team is in on the market for Fielder.
Fielder to the Nationals makes sense because the two areas Washington is the weakest is at 1B and in CF. The team could use someone strong in the lineup to pump it up. The Nationals won’t make a CF move this year, because of all of the free agent CF that will be on the market next year. The second reason Fielder makes sense is judging by the names the Nationals were involved with earlier this offseason, they could afford Fielder and a CF next season as well.
Fielder to the Nationals doesn’t make sense later in his career, Fielder could become a defensive liability. A long term deal looks more attractive when the idea of being a DH is thrown into the mix.
Other teams that could pursue Fielder include the Mariners, Orioles and Cubs. The Cubs were once considered to be strong suitors for Fielder but have backed off as they are going into a rebuilding mode (however maybe not entirely). The Mariners were very interested in Fielder at the start of the winter and the Orioles are interested in Prince but his price is way too high right now.
For the Mets, if Fielder does go to the Nationals, this is just bad news. The Phillies are already stocked for next season, the Braves look to be solid again, the Marlins have a bunch of new pieces and the Nationals will have a couple of new pieces to go with their emerging talent. Fielder to the Nationals might be the straw that breaks the optimistic horse’s back. For example, this would be the straw that could really hurt my optimism for next year.