One of the most underrated elements of free agency in baseball is the involvement of a player’s agent. Obviously agents negotiate the deals, but they also use their influence to steer players towards certain teams. If an agent has a solid prior relationship with a team, the likelihood that he proposes that team to another client is extremely high. We could see that situation unfold this fall as Milwaukee first baseman Prince Fielder hits free agency.
Enter super-agent Scott Boras, who represents Fielder. Over the past two years the Washington Nationals have shown a willingness to deal with Boras on a level that not many other teams have. The Nationals have made three-straight Boras clients their top picks in the MLB Draft (Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon) and signed Boras client Jayson Werth to a ridiculous contract this past winter.
Throw in the fact that the Nats could use a long-term solution at first base and Fielder looks like a fit. The teams that typically spend the most in free agency appear largely set at first base. The Yankees (Mark Teixeira), Red Sox (Adrian Gonzalez), and Phillies (Ryan Howard) don’t have a need there, while the Dodgers likely won’t be spending any money soon and have James Loney. The Angels are a possibility, but they recently announced they won’t be spending outrageous amounts of money anymore.
The 27-year-old Fielder is having a monster year in 2011, with a .301 average, 20 home runs, 61 RBI and a fat 1.031 OPS. He is a player who can put butts in seats and the Nationals need that.
With Strasburg on his way back from Tommy John surgery, Harper on the fast track to the big leagues and Major League roster that is starting to show signs of life (35-37 this year) the Nats could be a perfect candidate to add Fielder.
Don’t be surprised if Boras steers the big guy to the nation’s capital this winter.