Washington Nationals may want Prince Fielder to join team, but it’s a close call


Prince Fielder is not a good fielder, though he hits lots of home runs. Several teams are interested in him. (David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

The Washington Nationals have spent a lot of time this offseason trying to make a big decision: whether to sign slugger Prince Fielder.

Fielder, who started at first base for the Milwaukee Brewers for six seasons, is a free agent. That means he can sign with a new team. Several teams, including the Nationals, have seemed interested. But it’s unclear if the Nationals will sign him.

Whenever there’s an important decision to be made — whether it’s a baseball team deciding to spend millions on a player or a kid deciding to switch soccer teams — it’s helpful to make a list of the reasons why you should or should not do something.

Here are two lists with reasons on both sides of the Fielder decision.

First, why the Nationals should try to sign Fielder.

1 Fielder is a terrific hitter. He averaged 38 home runs and more than 100 runs batted in (RBI) for the past six seasons.

2 He gets a ton of walks: more than 100 in each of the past three seasons. Most of the Nats are free-swingers who don’t get many walks. The Nats could use a patient hitter.

3 Fielder is only 27 years old. Even if he signs a seven-year contract with the Nats, he probably will be a good player for all that time.

4 He doesn’t get hurt. Fielder played at least 157 games during each of the past six seasons. (There are 162 games in the regular season.)

I also think he has a totally cool baseball name: Prince Fielder. But that’s not really a reason to sign him.

Now, here’s a list of reasons why the Nationals should not try to sign him.

1 The Nats already have two good first basemen. Adam LaRoche is coming back from an injury, and Michael Morse (31 homers and 95 RBI) was almost as good as Fielder last season.

2 Fielder is not a good fielder, and he can play only first base.

3 He will cost the team a lot of money. It’s easy for fans to say the team should spend many millions on one player. But remember: If the Nats spend money on Fielder, they might not have money later to re-sign young players such as Danny Espinosa and Wilson Ramos.

4 I don’t want to be mean, but Fielder is big, and not necessarily in a good way. He is listed as 5 feet 11 inches and 275 pounds. If he gets any bigger, he might not be as good a player.

So what should the Nationals do? It’s a tough decision, but I think they should not try to sign Fielder. Baseball is a team game, and I like how the Nationals are building their team with lots of exciting young players and power pitchers. Maybe they should keep doing that instead of signing one big star.

Fred Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is the author of 17 sports books for kids.

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