So now that the Rangers have bid $51.7 million on Yu Darvish, they have to be out of the Prince Fielder sweepstakes, right?
The Rangers have always seemed on the periphery of the Fielder derby, but they still appear to be eyeing the top remaining free agent even after winning the Darvish auction and presumably targeting at least $100 million, and likely more, for the star 25-year-old right-handed pitcher from the Nippon Ham Fighters.
Texas is a threat to win Fielder, too, provided that the Rangers are willing to make the financial commitment it would take, as it is a desirable landing spot with an already stacked lineup and fine hitting ballpark.
Texas had baseball’s third most productive offense last year, but would threaten to possess baseball’s best lineup with Fielder in it. The Fielder pursuit has been pretty quiet, but other teams believed to have some interest in Fielder include the Mariners, Nationals, Cubs, Orioles, Marlins and incumbent Brewers.
The Rangers have always liked Fielder, and it’s not known whether their interest has actually increased in response to the chief rival Angels landing superstar Albert Pujols and frontline pitcher C.J. Wilson, the ex-Ranger. The Angels’ two huge purchases, which occurred the same day at the Winter Meetings, surprised the Rangers and most of baseball and gave Los Angeles of Anaheim a resounding early offseason victory at a cost of $332.5 million.
Word is, Darvish is seeking a deal for about $75 million over five years, which would be on top of the $51.7 million posting fee Texas would be required to pay the Fighters should they sign him, as expected. If they were to pay Fielder, say $206 million, they’d top the Angels in expense for their two players.
The Rangers were not interested in Pujols but do like Fielder because he is only 27 years old and would fit into their star-studded lineup. Texas is also trying to lock up several of their own stars, including Derek Holland, Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton.
Signing Fielder would also give the Rangers some middle-of-the-order insurance against the possibility of losing Hamilton, who is eligible for free agency after next year. While the Rangers want to keep Hamilton, they want to do it with a shorter contract than he will likely want.
For more MLB news and rumors from Jon Heyman, follow @JonHeymanCBS.