Blog Entry

Dodgers secretly bid big for Prince

Posted on: January 26, 2012 12:56 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 7:10 pm

Although they managed to stay under the radar all the while, the bankrupt big-market Los Angeles Dodgers pushed hard behind the scenes for weeks to try to sign Prince Fielder and thought for a while that they might have a legitimate shot at their own secret signing. The swashbuckling, secret-keeping Dodgers surely were a surprise entrant in the sweepstakes, making a major push to sign the star slugger with an initial offer that guaranteed him seven years and provided a sweet four-year opt-out. And for a couple weeks, the Dodgers looked like a real possibility for Prince.

The Dodgers surely gave a spirited effort to secure Fielder, even flying to meet with him at an undisclosed neutral location a few weeks ago, but somehow they managed to keep the entire undertaking under wraps, save for a few internet rumblings from fans speculating that they may have been a mystery team in the mix. It certainly is highly unusual for a team in backruptcy court to make a huge, nine-figure offer, but Dodgers people view Fielder as an extraordinary player who would have thrived in their large market.

But as it turned out, the Dodgers were merely the first mystery team. The second one, the Tigers, jumped in to win Fielder on a $214-million, nine-year deal several days after star hitter Victor Martinez suffered a knee injury that's expected to keep him out for the 2012 season. The one entity that was aware of the Dodgers' clandestine pursuit was the Tigers, who believed at some point that their strongest competition was coming from Los Angeles. The Nationals, Rangers and as many as four others also were showing strong interest in the 27-year-old slugger, though L.A. was definitely a prime player and one of the one or two main contenders to decisive Detroit in the end.

The Dodgers' first attempt at Fielder, with a high annual salary on the four years Fielder was guaranteed to be a Dodger and the always favorable player opt out, is believed to have put them among the final three teams in on Fielder, who agreed to the Tigers deal on Tuesday that was first reported by and announced today. The Nationals have said they were in on Fielder until the end, and the Dodgers were calling in the final couple days, too, though they started to lose hope the final weekend when the Tigers' big bid materialized, people familiar with the negotiations told Danny Knobler of Boras said, "I was only dealing with teams offering eight years or more'' by the end. One other interested GM said Boras told them their seven-year offer didn't even qualify for submission.

The Dodgers' first offer was said to have called for an average salary of about $26 million for the first four years and something in the low $20-million-range in the next three years. That bid was designed not to discourage Fielder from opting out and possibly moving to the American League where he could DH afterbeing the Dodgers'; forst baseman for four years. That total Dodgers deal was believed to have been worth a guarantee in the low $160 millions. It isn't known whether it included options or vesting options.

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, who is about to auction the team that's in bankruptcy, is not disallowed by the bankruptcy court from making such major baseball calls even though the team is slated to change hands April 30. The Los Angeles Times reported there are 20 wealthy bidders for the storied franchise that is expected to sell for at least $1.5 billion, and perhaps more. McCourt was fully on board with the offer extended to Fielder.

At least one prospective Dodgers bidder said he had heard about the team's involvement with Fielder but declined to comment on how such a mega contract might affect the purchase price. The expected record price for the Dodgers is being driven in large part by an ultra-competitive TV market, and having a third superstar to go with Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw may have been seen as a positive. The homegrown superstar Kemp was signed to a $160-million, eight-year Dodgers deal earlier this offseason in a move that was applauded by everyone.

The Dodgers have reduced their payroll to $90 million for the coming season, very small for the big-market team -- though for Fielder, who they saw as a special case, they were willing to push the payroll to close to $120 million.

The Dodgers tendered their longtime first baseman James Loney a contract and expect him to be their first baseman. They are not unhappy with him at all but merely saw Fielder as a rare opportunity to land one of the game's best hitters. There has been speculation the new owner, whoever that may be, will be in position to take a shot out at Reds superstar first baseman Joey Votto when he becomes a free agent in two years. However, Dodgers baseball people saw Fielder as an immediate chance at someone they believe is well-suited for a big market environment.

Category: MLB

Since: Jan 18, 2012
Posted on: January 26, 2012 6:58 pm

Dodgers secretly bid big for Prince

Frank McCourt bought the Dodgers for $371M in 2004, now 8 years later he's selling them for $1.5 billion, maybe more?  Wow, for a guy in bankruptcy he is going making a killing on the sale.  

Since: Aug 6, 2010
Posted on: January 26, 2012 6:53 pm

Dodgers secretly bid big for Prince

Wow that would be a power lineup with Fielder in it.

Since: Jan 31, 2007
Posted on: January 26, 2012 5:50 pm

Dodgers secretly bid big for Prince

Wow!!!   Dodgers must have ALL kinds of secrets up their sleeve!!  What's next for the mighty Dodgers??  They probably would of had a better chance at him if they weren't still paying Daryl Strawberry and Jason Schmidt!!  Ouch!!

Since: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: January 26, 2012 5:49 pm

Dodgers secretly bid big for Prince

Show us some proof of this alleged secret bid. Put up or shut up!

Since: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: January 26, 2012 5:48 pm

Dodgers secretly bid big for Prince

If this is truly to be believed, I'd like someone tell me how the Dodgers intended to pay Fielder when the ownership is bankrupt and in the process of being sold. Do you really think baseball would've allowed this signing in the middle of all of that turmoil? This is typicasl Heyman fantasy speculation, an attempt to prove he really is a Baseball Insider, when he clearly is not. Jist keep track of the garbage he says, his bold predictions and proclamtions, and check out how many of them come true. So far, I think I can count his correct predictions on one finger, my middle finger, which I point at Heyman and his bogus blog.

Since: Apr 19, 2009
Posted on: January 26, 2012 4:42 pm

Dodgers secretly bid big for Prince

If Loney comes out in 2012 and plays like he did the 2nd half of 2011 there will be know talking of not being able to sign Fielder if in fact the Dodgers really did make an offer, and anyone who thinks the Dodgers needed to sign Fielder to make the team worth more is plain stupid. Right now speculation is the Dodgers will sell for a minimun of a billion and maybe 1.5 billion. Remember, this is the Dodgers, the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of the two premier clubs in MLB. Good luck to Fielder in Detroit.

Since: Jul 23, 2008
Posted on: January 26, 2012 3:36 pm

Dodgers secretly bid big for Prince

The Dodgers tendered their longtime first baseman a contract and expect him to be their first baseman. They are not unhappy with him at all but merely saw Fielder as a rare opportunity to land one of the game's best hitters.
They are not unhappy with him at all ...?

The Dodgers are unhappy with James Loney!!  It costs way too much for a MLB top 10 first baseman and the Dodgers aren't too anxious to pay that money.  They tried to sign Fielder because they had to in order to improve the value of the team that is currently up for auction.  But, they'd rather not pay 25+ million a year for anyone.

James Loney was drafted 19th overall almost 10 years ago.  The Dodgers expected a lot more out of him.  He has been solid defensively (I'm not saying GG caliber).  His career batting avg is good but not as good as they hoped (.288).

The obvious disappointment is with his lack of power.  His highest total is 15, with an average of about 13 per full season.  James Loney may NEVER develop more power as he is about to turn 28 in May.  Most power hitters in MLB have already developed their typical power by this age.

The thing is, the Dodgers can live with Loney at the right price but the disappointment of him not performing up to his draft position may never go away.

Fielder is not just an upgrade at 1B, he represents an effort to win now, as is obvious with the Tigers signing him to that historic contract.  Fielder could be the type of player that brings the whole team up to a higher level, like Manny did when he first went to the Dodgers.  It's hard to put a price on that kind of effect.  You don't just look at the stats and physique of a player when they can have that kind of impact.

Since: May 1, 2008
Posted on: January 26, 2012 3:34 pm

Dodgers secretly bid big for Prince

This life long Dodger fan is elated that we didn't grossly over pay for Fielder like the Tigers did....

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: January 26, 2012 2:40 pm

Dodgers secretly bid big for Prince

I am glad to see the Dodgers trying to right the ship by getting rid of the McCourts and attempting to sign Fielder.  You put Kemp, Either and Fielder in the middle of that line-up and they could content for the NL West.  They missed but at least there are trying.
I think the Dodgers would had a better chance in getting Fielder if they were under a new owner, I do think that the Dodgers are going be a good team in a year or 2

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: January 26, 2012 2:11 pm

Dodgers secretly bid big for Prince MLB run Dodger$ made a "run" at Prince?  Sounds like fair above board dealing as usual by MLB until a new ownership group is "selected."  Mark Cuban whoulda signed Prince, Uncle Bud`s franchise...ERR Brewers couldn`t pony up that $, but hey they`ve got the MVP, the "hebrew hammer"  What he chaeted???  Next thing you`ll know Cuban`s group will magically not get selected and Joe Torre`s will. Keep dreamin Dodgers. James Loney is all you got.   

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