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Hello, and welcome back to just another PRINCE FIELDER WATCH. We probably could have had a PRINCE FIELDER WATCH in between this PRINCE FIELDER WATCH and the last PRINCE FIELDER WATCH, but we didn't feel like it. Rest assured, it may be a new year, but Prince Fielder is just the same! Except for all of the cells that he's shed, and all of the cells that he's grown. That shit is happening like all the time. Hopefully Prince Fielder's good cells haven't been replaced by bad cells. Imagine if Prince Fielder's cells were replaced by cells that can't do baseball! That would be a nightmare! For Prince Fielder, and the team that signs him.

Has Prince Fielder signed a contract?

Has Prince Fielder signed a contract with the Seattle Mariners?

Is Prince Fielder close to signing a contract?
I don't know. Closer. He's certainly not further from signing a contract, unless he isn't ever going to sign a contract, which would be an unusual career move. But Scott Boras is a little unpredictable so you never know.

What does your gut tell you?
I wish that I would stop including this question. My gut tells me that the Fielder sweepstakes are going to intensify because it's January now, the holidays are behind us, and spring training is the next thing on the calendar. In a way, the Fielder sweepstakes have already intensified. What do I mean by that? Read on!

What is the latest?
The latest came out on Monday, when Tom Haudricourt passed along word that more and more baseball people see the Washington Nationals as the favorites. Bill Ladson then reported that Scott Boras had met with Nationals ownership. All along, the Nationals have downplayed their interest and stuck by current bad first baseman Adam LaRoche, but they have the money, they have the fit, and they have the history of working with Boras. It makes sense.

On the other hand, also from Ladson:

When asked about Fielder being linked to the Nationals, another source said: "I think Boras is using [the Nats] to drive up the price with interested teams."

What have we learned? Nothing! Literally not a single thing! The Nationals might be heavily interested in Prince Fielder. The Nationals might not be heavily interested in Prince Fielder. We can't dismiss the possibility that the Nationals are just being used, because using the Nationals would work to Boras and Fielder's benefit.

This is how agents work. Fantastic, annoying, miserable agents. Teams don't know what's true. Only the agent knows what's true, which gives the agent the advantage. Scott Boras is all about advantages, and he's not going to half-ass the process with a client like Fielder. Maybe the Nationals are involved and maybe they're not, but the perception that they are helps the market.

Additionally, Ken Rosenthal reported that a lot of people think Boras will try to get an opt-out clause. I think we've probably talked about opt-out clauses enough. I would like to opt out of having that conversation again! Haha!

Are the Mariners still in the thick of things?
I see no reason to believe otherwise.

I won't do it again.
You better not do it again.