Griffin: Fielder link to Jays unlikely
It's that time of year again in major-league baseball where player agents' thoughts turn to one week of seriously negotiating free-agent contracts, gaining countless bucketsful of money from MLB teams that never knew they were willing to spend that much. But right now it's time for the full-court press from agents to teams and their fans.
It's the annual baseball winter meetings get-together and it's always the tradition that heading into the proceedings, agents throw out borderline believable rumours that their clients are close and that the offers are out there and, hey, yeah you, the GM not making us an offer, you'd better get your assets in gear and join the frenzy or you'll be left out.
Thus it is with Prince Fielder. With less than 24 hours before GMs and agents gather at the Anatole in Dallas, from a sports FM station in Cleveland, the rumour came out on Sunday that the Jays are among three remaining teams leading in the race for slugging first baseman whose father played in Toronto but with whom he has not spoken for years. Fielder is expected to challenge the mark of $252 million 10 years set by Alex Rodriguez with the Rangers at the same hotel in Texas some 11 years ago. But the offers are not coming as quickly as they thought. http://cleveland.cbslocal.com/2011/12/04/free-agent-powerhouse-prince-fielder-reportedly-has-narrowed-his-choices-of-teams-to-three/
According to this report, the Jays are said to be in the lead, with the Brewers and the Rangers still in the hunt. I guarantee that would be news to the three respective GMs Alex Anthopoulos, Doug Melvin and Jon Daniels, with Toronto, Milwaukee and Texas. Melvin insists that nothing has changed since Fielder received a heartfelt "see-ya-later" ovation from the fans at Miller Park in his last home game.
Melvin can honestly say that he has not bumped his offer to Fielder since then because, as he told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, he has never made an actual money offer in order to be able to increase it. The Brewers have all but given up on seeing Fielder in the Milwaukee uniform again. As for Anthopoulos, it was just last Thursday in Toronto that he sat at lunch with Paul Beeston by his side and talked about the folly of tying up so much money in one player, like Fielder and Albert Pujols.
Is it any coincidence that now heading to Dallas, with Scott Boras as his agent, the rumour is out there that Fielder's choice is down to three. Or in similar fashion, in the the case of lefthander Mark Buehrle that three teams are strong with him as well, including two in the NL and one in the AL with another "mystery" team standing by. Of course, the old mystery team. This is the time of year. Some GMs need a gentle push.
Boras has a passel of clients still looking for work. He will make his grand entrance to the lobby of the Anatole and be swarmed by media. He will present the larger-than-life Fielder as the greatest free agent ever to be available. The negotiations with more teams will begin in earnest. Life goes on and the Jays will make moves, but elsewhere.