Reporting Matt Loede
MLB Winter Meetings
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – With the Major League Baseball 2011 Winter Meetings about 36 hours away from starting, a big name has reportedly narrowed his choices of where he will play in 2012 and beyond down to three.
First baseman and possible DH if he lands in the AL Prince Fielder has narrowed down his teams to three according to reports, with the three teams being the Toronto Blue Jays, the Texas Rangers, and his old team, the Milwaukee Brewers.
Reports say that as of right now, the team that resides in the lead for his services – the Jays.
The Brewers would love to get Fielder back after their playoff run in 2011, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on Friday that the general manager Doug Melvin has not offered increased their offer to Fielder.
In fact, the paper reports that Melvin has not talked to Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras, since the general manager/ownership meetings in Milwaukee in mid-November.
“We haven’t had any conversations with Scott,” Melvin said to the paper. “If we had, we wouldn’t reveal what we would be talking about anyway. Whether (rumors come from) the agents or some other clubs, it’s just trying to drum up something. You don’t know where that comes from. We haven’t mentioned any numbers, so it would be hard to increase an offer. They’ve never told us what they’re looking for. Agents never do.”
So why would a team like the Jays, who haven’t really been a force in the Majors for quite some time, be a bidder for Fielder? Well, a couple of very good reasons.
The team plays in a large market in Toronto, and do have money to spend. The team last season was again near the bottom of attendance in all of baseball, ranking 25th with a total of 1.8 million fans, an average of just 22,445 per game.
They need a big bat to be a serious contender to the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, two teams that have owned the AL East for what seems like forever, and even the Tampa Bay Rays.
Last season the Jays went 81-81, and were still a full 16 games back of the Yankees for the division title. Put them in the AL Central, and they would have finished a game above the Indians for second.
While the Jays are in the lead now, don’t count out the Rangers, who would love to build off being a strike away from winning the World Series last year with a huge signing like Fielder.
The Rangers right now seem more interested in their own free agent pitcher – C.J. Wilson, but Jon Heyman of SI.com says Texas isn’t making any progress with Wilson, and the Red Sox already have a meeting scheduled with Wilson on Monday.
If Fielder does decide on a team in the next five days while in Dallas, it will for sure be the biggest news of the MLB Winter Meetings.
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