There are some stories in baseball right now. Erik Bedard is signing with the . Jimmy Rollins looks like he's re-signing with the . Josh Bard is signing with the . The exist. But the biggest story, by far, and I mean by far, like really far, is Albert Pujols choosing between the and the and maybe but probably not someone else. Albert Pujols is Albert fucking Pujols, so it's crazy that he's on the free agent market to begin with, and then you throw in the absurdity of him potentially being lured away from the only team he's ever known by the Miami god damned Marlins and it's just like total brain overload.
Here's why that matters, to us. Theare not involved for Pujols. The Mariners were never going to be involved for Pujols, and I'd honestly be surprised if they so much as checked in with his agent to express their interest. Complete waste of time. That's time Jack Zduriencik could spend calling not-Dan Lozano, or shaving. But the Marlins are involved for Pujols. I don't know where they currently stand - different reports say different things - but if they miss out, there's another big-time free agent first baseman they could go after if they wanted.
Different reports also say different things about whether or not the Marlins would look to Prince Fielder, but it would make sense. Fielder isn't as good as Pujols, and he doesn't have the Latino appeal, but he's considerably younger, and he lives in Florida. If the Marlins are certain they should offer Pujols what they've offered him, it stands to reason they'd be certain they should offer Fielder a lot, too, if Pujols re-signs.
This whole time, we've been thinking about the possibility of Fielder just kind of falling into the Mariners' lap. The Mariners are known to be interested. Theand aren't, the have said that they aren't, the have indicated that they aren't, the have indicated that they aren't...what if Fielder's market didn't develop? What if the Mariners could sign him for like six years?
Some Mariners fans would kill a person for that. Other Mariners fans want the team to stay away regardless. But if the Marlins miss out on Pujols, and if they get into the mix for Fielder, it's hard to imagine his price not skyrocketing, beyond what the Mariners are willing to commit.
Mariners: Six years, $130 million, say?
Boras: Well I guess so.
Boras: If you could just sign right-
MARLINS: HEY GUYS TEN YEARS
MARLINS: TEN YEARS AND TWELVE YEARS
MARLINS: AND A HELICOPTER
Of course, it's also hard to imagine Fielder's price not skyrocketing, even if the Marlins don't get involved. Even if the Marlins sign Pujols or C.J. Wilson instead. This is Prince Fielder, and he's represented by Scott Boras. Fielder is 27 years old. He just put up a 164 OPS+ over 162 games. The Mariners aren't going to get him at a discount, and an awful lot of things would have to come together for them to get him at a contract with which they're even comfortable.
So no matter what Jim Bowden says, the Mariners probably can't be considered front-runners. Or even if they are slight front-runners now, it doesn't mean their odds are actually good. These negotiations have a long way to go, and nobody cares if you're winning a race after the first 20 steps.