The Nationals are among a handful of teams still working on signing free agent Prince Fielder, a person familiar with the negotiations said. The sides have yet to reach a deal but remain in communication.
The Nationals have been connected to Fielder for weeks, with the owners meeting with Fielder’s representative, Scott Boras, on multiple occasions. The Texas Rangers have been the team most commonly regarded as a suitor for Fielder, but another potential landing spot has emerged for Fielder, and one that could pique the Nationals’ interest: the Baltimore Orioles.
Today, MLB Network Radio’s Jim Duquette – a former Orioles executive and the cousin of current Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette – reported that the Orioles “definitely” have interest in signing Fielder. Competing for Fielder would add to the regional rivalry between the Lerner family and Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who are also currently negotiating their shared MASN television contract.
This weekend, according to MASNSports.com, Dan Duquette answered a question about the Orioles’ interest in Fielder thusly: “Are we going to get him? I don’t know. If we don’t, we’ll look for someone just like him.”
The Dodgers, Mariners and Marlins have also been reported as possible destinations for Fielder, but they are not regarded as strong contenders.
Fielder is the clear-cut top free agent remaining, a 27-year-old who finished third in MVP voting last season after hitting 38 home runs with a .415 on-base percentage. He played in all 162 games as he led the Brewers to the National League Central title.
Fielder has remained a free agent far longer than most players of his caliber, still looking for a team with less than a month before pitchers and catchers report.
“This is a negotiation that is very personal to a star player who’s a slugger,” Boras told the New York Times this weekend. “The traditional negotiation periods are not relevant to these types of players, and the timing of the negotiations should not create any inferences, positive or negative, about the status or value of Prince Fielder.”